Category Archives: American Political History

The 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act: Plotting the House and Senate Votes

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act. The Civil Rights Act passed the House in a 290-130 vote and the Senate in a 73-27 vote. Below we use DW-NOMINATE scores to plot both votes. … Continue reading

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DW-NOMINATE Video, 1789-2013

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DW-NOMINATE Scores over the Course of Congressional History

A video of DW-NOMINATE scores from the first Congress to the present. Tweet

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The House and Senate’s 1996 Votes on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

Ahead of the Supreme Court hearings on two gay marriage cases this week, below we use DW-NOMINATE scores to plot the House and Senate votes to pass the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) during the 104th Congress (1995-1997). The constitutionality … Continue reading

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Lincoln and the Ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment

The plot of Best Picture-nominee Lincoln centers around the dramatic passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery in the United States. Following the Senate’s 38-6 passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in April 1864, Daniel Day-Lewis as President Lincoln must … Continue reading

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Congressional Votes on the Federal Assault Weapons Ban

Below we use DW-NOMINATE scores to plot two congressional votes on a federal assault weapons ban. The first was President Clinton’s omnibus crime bill (the Violence Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act), which passed the House in a 235-195 vote … Continue reading

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The Fiscal Cliff: The Congressional Votes that Got Us Here

The United States will go over the “fiscal cliff” on January 1st if Congress and President Obama are unable to reach a deal to prevent automatic tax increases and cuts to defense and domestic spending. The economic consequences of going … Continue reading

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Landmark Legislation and Bipartisan Coalitions

Does political polarization diminish the prospects of major or landmark legislation? Not necessarily, says Mickey Kaus in a recent piece (“Two Cheers for ‘Polarization’“). His argument is that ambitious legislative proposals (for example, passing universal healthcare or changing collective bargaining … Continue reading

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NSF, Political Science Research, and the Development of NOMINATE

In our first book on NOMINATE (Congress: A Political-Economic History of Roll Call Voting, 1997), one of the roll call votes used in the introductory chapter on the spatial model of voting was the Senate’s 1981 vote to restore NSF … Continue reading

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Video: The History of American Politics in Two Minutes

Below we use DW-NOMINATE scores to illustrate the ideological composition of each Congress (1st to the current 112th) in the following video. The first dimension (the horizontal or x-axis) represents placement along the familiar liberal-conservative spectrum; the second dimension represents … Continue reading

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