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Majority Leadership in the U.S. Senate: Balancing Constraints By Andrea C. Hatcher ...

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Majority Leadership in the U.S. Senate:

Chapter 1


[W]e have no really adequate model of party leadership as it exists in Congress, and…none can be constructed because we lack simple descriptions of many of the basic working parts of the system. (Huitt, 1961, p. 334)
It may be a little difficult to envision just what a representative or senator does in Washington; the added title of majority leader compounds the complexity.

—Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, 19621

Since 1913, U.S. senators have recognized one position among themselves as majority leader.2 The first incumbent, John W. Kern (D-IN), began the gradual process of converting the position into an office. He and his colleagues also set other precedents that, as this research will show, endure nearly a century later. Notwithstanding such a long period of experience, and despite the profusion of political scientists’ accounts of Congress and journalists’ daily observations of the legislative branch, no comprehensive study of the Senate majority leader has found its way into the annals of American politics. This book aims to correct the anomaly.