Not available in 2015/16
GV4C4      Half Unit
Legislative Politics: US

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey CON6.05


This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in Political Science and Political Economy, MSc in Public Administration and Government (LSE and Peking University) and MSc in Public Policy and Administration. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Students who are taking GV4C6 Legislative Politics: European Union cannot take this course.

Course content

This course provides an advanced analysis of the theory and practice of legislative politics in the United States of America.

This course provides an in-depth analysis of the theory and practice of legislative politics. In the early weeks of the course we examine interests-based and ideology-based theories of legislative politics, theories of committee and party organisation, the role of deliberations in congressional debates and hearings, and the legislative process. Later in the course, we examine the legislative process in more detail, using important episodes in US legislative politics, with topics including Depression era trade conflicts (e.g., the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930 and the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1934) , congressional activism and partisan polarization, and social issues (abortion).


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

There will be a reading week in week 6 of the LT for private study and assessment preparation.

Formative coursework

Students will be required to submit one formative essay in week 6.

Indicative reading

R. H. Davidson, et al, Congress and Its Members (CQ Press, 2008); Charles Stewart, Analyzing Congress, W W Norton, 2001; D R Mayhew, Congress, The Electoral Connection, Yale University Press, 1974; D R Mayhew, America's Congress: Actions in the Public Sphere, James Madison Through Newt Gingrich, 2000; K T Poole, & H Rosenthal, Congress: A Political-Economic History of Roll Call Voting, Oxford University Press, 1997; P. Hernson, Congressional Elections: Campaigning at Home and in Washington, 5th ed (CQ Press, 2008); G.W. Cox & M.D. McCubbins, Setting the Agenda: Responsible Party Government in the US House of Representatives, Cambridge University Press, 2005 ; G. Mucciaroni & P.J. Quick, Deliberative Choices: Debating Public Policy in Congress (University of Chicago Press, 2006).


Essay (90%, 5000 words) and in class assessment (10%).

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 19.4
Merit 67.7
Pass 12.9
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2014/15: 10

Average class size 2014/15: 10

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication