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From the Party of Lincoln to the Party of "Chinese-must-go": Position Taking and Policy Change in the post-Reconstruction Congress
Unformatted Document Text:  1 From the Party of Lincoln to the Party of “Chinese-must-go”: Position Taking and Policy Change in the Post-Reconstruction Congress Jungkun Seo ## email not listed ## Department of Government The University of Texas at Austin 1 University Station A1800 Austin, TX 78712-0119 April 5, 2007 Abstract Legislators sometimes find constituency interests deviating from party positions. If so, some congressional members switch their policy position, but others stand by their early votes. Although many congressional scholars have explored how legislators vote, a dynamic and comprehensive understanding of vote switching is still warranted. This paper revisits the congressional debates over exclusion of Chinese laborers in the Gilded Age. I analyze legislators’ vote choices and changes over a series of anti-Chinese bills from 1879 to 1882. Especially, this paper focuses on how the Republican Party members shift their positions in the context of party competition and party transformation. The Grand Old Party members, once united over equal civil rights in the Reconstruction Era, found themselves split over whether to exclude coolie laborers. First, I found that the Republican rank-and-file members switched their vote choices in accordance with their constituency interests. Also, I found that they employed position-taking strategies with presidential veto highly expected. Indeed, GOP rank-and-file members tried to keep hold of both credibility and flexibility in their voting decisions. These findings contribute to a better understanding of how congressional members change their vote choices in legislative process. Paper prepared for presentation at the 2007 meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, Ill. April 12-15, 2007.

Authors: Seo, Jungkun.
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From the Party of Lincoln to the Party of “Chinese-must-go”:
Position Taking and Policy Change in the Post-Reconstruction Congress

Jungkun Seo
## email not listed ##

Department of Government
The University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station A1800
Austin, TX 78712-0119
April 5, 2007

Abstract
Legislators sometimes find constituency interests deviating from party positions.
If so, some congressional members switch their policy position, but others stand by their
early votes. Although many congressional scholars have explored how legislators vote, a
dynamic and comprehensive understanding of vote switching is still warranted. This
paper revisits the congressional debates over exclusion of Chinese laborers in the Gilded
Age. I analyze legislators’ vote choices and changes over a series of anti-Chinese bills
from 1879 to 1882.
Especially, this paper focuses on how the Republican Party members shift their
positions in the context of party competition and party transformation. The Grand Old
Party members, once united over equal civil rights in the Reconstruction Era, found
themselves split over whether to exclude coolie laborers. First, I found that the
Republican rank-and-file members switched their vote choices in accordance with their
constituency interests. Also, I found that they employed position-taking strategies with
presidential veto highly expected. Indeed, GOP rank-and-file members tried to keep hold
of both credibility and flexibility in their voting decisions. These findings contribute to a
better understanding of how congressional members change their vote choices in
legislative process.



Paper prepared for presentation at the 2007 meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association,
Chicago, Ill. April 12-15, 2007.


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