Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 11
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Erman, Eva and Möller, Niklas 2015. Political Legitimacy in the Real Normative World: The Priority of Morality and the Autonomy of the Political. British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 45, Issue. 01, p. 215.

    Lee, Frances E. 2015. How Party Polarization Affects Governance. Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 18, Issue. 1, p. 261.

    Rhodes, Jesse H. 2014. Party Polarization and the Ascendance of Bipartisan Posturing as a Dominant Strategy in Presidential Rhetoric. Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 44, Issue. 1, p. 120.

    Thornton, Judd R. 2013. The Impact of Elite Polarization on Partisan Ambivalence and Indifference. Political Behavior, Vol. 35, Issue. 2, p. 409.

    Anderson, Sarah E. 2012. Policy Domain-Specific Ideology: When Interest Group Scores Offer More Insight. Politics & Policy, Vol. 40, Issue. 6, p. 1186.

    Milkis, Sidney M. Rhodes, Jesse H. and Charnock, Emily J. 2012. What Happened to Post-Partisanship? Barack Obama and the New American Party System. Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 10, Issue. 01, p. 57.

    BECKMANN, MATTHEW N. and KUMAR, VIMAL 2011. Opportunism in Polarization: Presidential Success in Senate Key Votes, 1953-2008. Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 41, Issue. 3, p. 488.

    Harbridge, Laurel and Malhotra, Neil 2011. Electoral Incentives and Partisan Conflict in Congress: Evidence from Survey Experiments. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 55, Issue. 3, p. 494.

    Levendusky, M. S. and Pope, J. C. 2011. Red States vs. Blue States: Going Beyond the Mean. Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 75, Issue. 2, p. 227.

    JESSEE, STEPHEN and MALHOTRA, NEIL 2010. Are Congressional Leaders Middlepersons or Extremists? Yes. Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 35, Issue. 3, p. 361.

    Fischer, Claude S. and Mattson, Greggor 2009. Is America Fragmenting?. Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 35, Issue. 1, p. 435.


A Delayed Return to Historical Norms: Congressional Party Polarization after the Second World War

  • HAHRIE HAN (a1) and DAVID W. BRADY (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 July 2007

Although a rich body of research has explored the sources of party polarization in the US House of Representatives, it has focused primarily on the House since the late 1970s. Drawing on a dataset of historical election outcomes, legislative voting and survey data, this article takes an alternative approach that examines both the US Senate and the House in their broader historical contexts. It is argued that the unusually bipartisan era of the 1950s created a set of circumstances that enabled congressional parties to remain relatively unpolarized throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Although the national parties became more ideologically distinct in the mid-1960s, congressional parties lagged behind. As a result, a group of moderate legislators emerged who were cross-pressured between their national parties and their constituencies. Only when natural patterns of electoral loss and retirement replaced these legislators did congressional party polarization re-emerge.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *