An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA. We thank Ben Bishin, Michael Crespin, Jeff Jenkins, Sam Kernell, Michael MacKuen, Nathan Monroe, Jason Roberts, Dave Rohde, Rick Wilson, the anonymous referees, and especially Kim Hill and Jan Leighley for helpful comments and suggestions.
Assessing the Electoral Connection: Evidence from the Early United States
Version of Record online: 27 SEP 2005
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 49, Issue 4, pages 746–757, October 2005
How to Cite
Carson, J. L. and Engstrom, E. J. (2005), Assessing the Electoral Connection: Evidence from the Early United States. American Journal of Political Science, 49: 746–757. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2005.00152.x
- Issue online: 27 SEP 2005
- Version of Record online: 27 SEP 2005
Students of legislative behavior are divided over the extent to which an electoral connection existed in the early United States. In this article, we offer a test of the electoral connection in early American politics by investigating the electoral aftershocks of the disputed presidential election of 1824. Using newly available county-level presidential voting data, along with the unique circumstances associated with the presidential contest, we examine the connection between representative behavior, district public opinion, and electoral outcomes. We find that representatives who voted for John Quincy Adams in the House contest, yet were from districts supporting Andrew Jackson, were targeted for ouster and suffered a substantial vote-loss in the subsequent midterm election. We also find that the entry of a quality challenger had a sizeable impact on the fortunes of incumbent legislators. These results serve to confirm that representatives could be held accountable for their behavior in office during the antebellum era.