Jump to content
270soft Forum
Sign in to follow this  
vcczar

Most Active Congresspersons from 1788-1988

Recommended Posts

I bought an interesting book called America's Congress by David Mayhew. In it, he has a list of Congress members that committed 10 or more actions as a member of Congress.

Actions are defined as mostly or completely autonomous behavior that is consequential or is perceived as consequential. An example would be AOC proposing/promoting the Green New Deal, which has been a major talking point for the campaign. 

Here's the top list for the period of time discussed in this book, which was published in 2000. It includes members of the House and Senate, even though the book focuses primarily on the House. Overall, it seems that Congress has seen less autonomous, consequential actions from c. 1960-1988.:

  1. Henry Clay, 40 actions
  2. Henry Cabot Lodge, 37
  3. Robert Taft, 30
  4. William Borah, 27
  5. Robert La Follette, 27
  6. Charles Sumner, 27
  7. George W. Norris, 24 (also my 1st cousin several generations removed. His mother was the sister of my direct ancestor.)
  8. John Sherman, 23
  9. Stephen A Douglas, 22
  10. Nelson W Aldrich, 21
  11. Daniel Webster, 21
  12. Robert F Wagner 20
  13. James Madison, 19
  14. Sam Rayburn, 17
  15. Arthur Vandenberg, 17
  16. John C Calhoun, 16
  17. Lyndon B Johnson 16
  18. Tip O'Neill 16
  19. Thaddeus Stevens 15
  20. John Randolph 14
  21. Burton K Wheeler 14
  22. James G Blaine 13
  23. Barry Goldwater 13
  24. Matthew Quay 13
  25. William Seward 13
  26. J. William Fulbright 12
  27. Hiram Johnson 12
  28. Lyman Trumbull 12
  29. John Quincy Adams 11
  30. Thomas Hart Benton 11
  31. Harry F Byrd Sr 11
  32. Arthur Poe Gorman 11
  33. Henry Scoop Jackson 11
  34. Ted Kennedy 11 **Still living and active when this study was done, probably had at least two more consequential actions in his final two decades**
  35. Robert La Follette Jr 11
  36. Mike Mansfield 11
  37. Edmund Muskie 11
  38. Thomas Brackett Reed 11
  39. Benjamin F Wade 11
  40. Hubert Humphrey 10
  41. Huey P Long 10
  42. Wilbur Mills 10
  43. Richard Russell 10
  44. Samuel Smith 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, vcczar said:

I bought an interesting book called America's Congress by David Mayhew. In it, he has a list of Congress members that committed 10 or more actions as a member of Congress.

Actions are defined as mostly or completely autonomous behavior that is consequential or is perceived as consequential. An example would be AOC proposing/promoting the Green New Deal, which has been a major talking point for the campaign. 

Here's the top list for the period of time discussed in this book, which was published in 2000. It includes members of the House and Senate, even though the book focuses primarily on the House. Overall, it seems that Congress has seen less autonomous, consequential actions from c. 1960-1988.:

  1. Henry Clay, 40 actions
  2. Henry Cabot Lodge, 37
  3. Robert Taft, 30
  4. William Borah, 27
  5. Robert La Follette, 27
  6. Charles Sumner, 27
  7. George W. Norris, 24 (also my 1st cousin several generations removed. His mother was the sister of my direct ancestor.)
  8. John Sherman, 23
  9. Stephen A Douglas, 22
  10. Nelson W Aldrich, 21
  11. Daniel Webster, 21
  12. Robert F Wagner 20
  13. James Madison, 19
  14. Sam Rayburn, 17
  15. Arthur Vandenberg, 17
  16. John C Calhoun, 16
  17. Lyndon B Johnson 16
  18. Tip O'Neill 16
  19. Thaddeus Stevens 15
  20. John Randolph 14
  21. Burton K Wheeler 14
  22. James G Blaine 13
  23. Barry Goldwater 13
  24. Matthew Quay 13
  25. William Seward 13
  26. J. William Fulbright 12
  27. Hiram Johnson 12
  28. Lyman Trumbull 12
  29. John Quincy Adams 11
  30. Thomas Hart Benton 11
  31. Harry F Byrd Sr 11
  32. Arthur Poe Gorman 11
  33. Henry Scoop Jackson 11
  34. Ted Kennedy 11 **Still living and active when this study was done, probably had at least two more consequential actions in his final two decades**
  35. Robert La Follette Jr 11
  36. Mike Mansfield 11
  37. Edmund Muskie 11
  38. Thomas Brackett Reed 11
  39. Benjamin F Wade 11
  40. Hubert Humphrey 10
  41. Huey P Long 10
  42. Wilbur Mills 10
  43. Richard Russell 10
  44. Samuel Smith 10

Is this solely "positive" actions - as in promoting new legislation and policy - or does it include "negative" actions - blocking the desires of the President, other party, or lobbyists without adding anything or promoting a viable alternative, like McConnel, Boehner, (Rand) Paul, and Pelosi have made into trademark tactics?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Patine said:

Is this solely "positive" actions - as in promoting new legislation and policy - or does it include "negative" actions - blocking the desires of the President, other party, or lobbyists without adding anything or promoting a viable alternative, like McConnel, Boehner, (Rand) Paul, and Pelosi have made into trademark tactics?

It would include both. So John McCain gets an "action" for voting down the GOP's attempt to repeal Obamacare.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, vcczar said:

It would include both. So John McCain gets an "action" for voting down the GOP's attempt to repeal Obamacare.

McCain's thumbs down gets a thumbs up from me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, darkmoon72 said:

McCain's thumbs down gets a thumbs up from me.

Yeah, that was a cool moment. I was watching it live. I remember Mitch McConnell staring at him and then looking really angry or disappointed after he gave the thumbs down. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, vcczar said:

It would include both. So John McCain gets an "action" for voting down the GOP's attempt to repeal Obamacare.

He gets a point for casting a single vote?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

He gets a point for casting a single vote?

It would be considered an "action" according to this Yale professor. It was a the decisive and consequential vote. He lists about 44 ways of getting an "action"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Patine @darkmoon72 @ThePotatoWalrus

The book shows the career "actions" by Joseph McCarthy, which gives an idea of the kind of things he's talking about. These below were/are considered consequential for their time and were also at least somewhat autonomous: 

  1. His Wheeling speech launches "McCarthyism" (1950)
  2. Makes disloyalty accusations before Tydings Committee (1950)
  3. Butts into CT and MD elections (1950)
  4. Attacks Marshall, Acheson, et al (1951-1952)
  5. Opposes Bohlen appointment as ambassador of USSR (1953)
  6. Gets Greek shipowners to stop China trade (1953)
  7. Hunts Communists in the state department (1953)
  8. Army-McCarthy Hearings (1954)
  9. Censure by Senate (1954)

That's a ton of actions in 4 years, as only 40ish member of congress have ever had 10 actions. He is only actionless in his first 3 years and his last 3 years. He died in office of alcoholism at age 48. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, pilight said:

Seems fairly subjective

Much of politics, and the social sciences as a whole, ultimately is at the end of the day, is. It's not like math, where 1+1 ALWAYS equals 2, and everyone knows it, and it can be proven, and only Big Brother tells you otherwise as a power trip and control factor (which brings us back to politics).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, vcczar said:

I bought an interesting book called America's Congress by David Mayhew. In it, he has a list of Congress members that committed 10 or more actions as a member of Congress.

Actions are defined as mostly or completely autonomous behavior that is consequential or is perceived as consequential. An example would be AOC proposing/promoting the Green New Deal, which has been a major talking point for the campaign. 

Here's the top list for the period of time discussed in this book, which was published in 2000. It includes members of the House and Senate, even though the book focuses primarily on the House. Overall, it seems that Congress has seen less autonomous, consequential actions from c. 1960-1988.:

  1. Henry Clay, 40 actions
  2. Henry Cabot Lodge, 37
  3. Robert Taft, 30
  4. William Borah, 27
  5. Robert La Follette, 27
  6. Charles Sumner, 27
  7. George W. Norris, 24 (also my 1st cousin several generations removed. His mother was the sister of my direct ancestor.)
  8. John Sherman, 23
  9. Stephen A Douglas, 22
  10. Nelson W Aldrich, 21
  11. Daniel Webster, 21
  12. Robert F Wagner 20
  13. James Madison, 19
  14. Sam Rayburn, 17
  15. Arthur Vandenberg, 17
  16. John C Calhoun, 16
  17. Lyndon B Johnson 16
  18. Tip O'Neill 16
  19. Thaddeus Stevens 15
  20. John Randolph 14
  21. Burton K Wheeler 14
  22. James G Blaine 13
  23. Barry Goldwater 13
  24. Matthew Quay 13
  25. William Seward 13
  26. J. William Fulbright 12
  27. Hiram Johnson 12
  28. Lyman Trumbull 12
  29. John Quincy Adams 11
  30. Thomas Hart Benton 11
  31. Harry F Byrd Sr 11
  32. Arthur Poe Gorman 11
  33. Henry Scoop Jackson 11
  34. Ted Kennedy 11 **Still living and active when this study was done, probably had at least two more consequential actions in his final two decades**
  35. Robert La Follette Jr 11
  36. Mike Mansfield 11
  37. Edmund Muskie 11
  38. Thomas Brackett Reed 11
  39. Benjamin F Wade 11
  40. Hubert Humphrey 10
  41. Huey P Long 10
  42. Wilbur Mills 10
  43. Richard Russell 10
  44. Samuel Smith 10

I sorta expected Sam Rayburn to be higher, but I'm curious where Newt Gingrich landed at. Between his stunts in the 80s, and the Speakership of the 90's, he should be on the list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Sunnymentoaddict said:

I sorta expected Sam Rayburn to be higher, but I'm curious where Newt Gingrich landed at. Between his stunts in the 80s, and the Speakership of the 90's, he should be on the list.

The list goes only through 1988, before Gingrich’s hey day. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Patine @darkmoon72 @ThePotatoWalrus @pilight @Sunnymentoaddict

I looked at the "actions" of these top performers and found this interesting: 

New England congresspersons account for the most actions by region, followed distantly by the Midwest. Surprisingly, while NY dominates the presidency, the courts, the cabinet, it hasn't had many high-performers in the Senate and House between 1788-1988. What's the most impressive is that almost all of New England's top performer actions are by Massachusetts congresspersons. In fact, Massachusetts alone would have more high performer actions than any region in the entire United States (They have HC Lodge, T Kennedy, C Sumner, D Webster, JQ Adams, Tip O'Neill). 

Obviously, another state may have a higher total of "actions" if I calculated low performing statesman. For instance, maybe NY and/or the Mid-Atlantic has more total actions, but it's because they have a ton of people that performed like 5 actions, rather than 10+. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I emailed the author to ask if he's kept up with actions since 1988. He said he hasn't because "the right kind of history books aren't being written anymore". He didn't elaborate on this. 

I do know that he gets his actions mostly from general US history/politics books, since something consequential will often make it into these books because it's so important. He classified an action as an A Action if it was basically in every book he used. It was a B action if it was included in a certain number of books. It was a C action if it was in less. 

He was kind enough to link me to a spreadsheet with all the actions, including those not mentioned in the book for 1788-1988. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, vcczar said:

I emailed the author to ask if he's kept up with actions since 1988. He said he hasn't because "the right kind of history books aren't being written anymore". He didn't elaborate on this. 

I do know that he gets his actions mostly from general US history/politics books, since something consequential will often make it into these books because it's so important. He classified an action as an A Action if it was basically in every book he used. It was a B action if it was included in a certain number of books. It was a C action if it was in less. 

He was kind enough to link me to a spreadsheet with all the actions, including those not mentioned in the book for 1788-1988. 

Well, I do admit that a HUGE volume of U.S. political analysis and recent history books, written in, and about, the last three decades or so, do tend to be OBVIOUSLY and BLATANTLY biased to one political leaning or another, be HIGHLY sensationalist, often be written as an incendiary attack on a politician, ideology, or policy or promoting and defending a single, highly-contentious point, and often be very dubious in their sources. So I can probably GUESS what he MIGHT mean.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Patine said:

Well, I do admit that a HUGE volume of U.S. political analysis and recent history books, written in, and about, the last three decades or so, do tend to be OBVIOUSLY and BLATANTLY biased to one political leaning or another, be HIGHLY sensationalist, often be written as an incendiary attack on a politician, ideology, or policy or promoting and defending a single, highly-contentious point, and often be very dubious in their sources. So I can probably GUESS what he MIGHT mean.

I think you are probably right. History books also tend to avoid the same kind of legislative detail that older books had. You'll learn about the Compromise of 1850 and how Clay, Douglas, Webster, Calhoun, and Seward played a role in trying to pass it or vote it down, but you don't get any of the details other than name dropping. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Patine said:

Well, I do admit that a HUGE volume of U.S. political analysis and recent history books, written in, and about, the last three decades or so, do tend to be OBVIOUSLY and BLATANTLY biased to one political leaning or another, be HIGHLY sensationalist, often be written as an incendiary attack on a politician, ideology, or policy or promoting and defending a single, highly-contentious point, and often be very dubious in their sources. So I can probably GUESS what he MIGHT mean.

I enjoy your criticism of sensationalism which uses all-capitalized adverbs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Reagan04 said:

I enjoy your criticism of sensationalism which uses all-capitalized adverbs.

It's not as if you're at all a stranger to sensationalism on these forums. Besides, I'm informally bantering on a forum where politics is being discussed casually, not trying to seriously publish a book I expect to taken seriously and given respect and credence. Can I REALLY be held to the same standards?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Patine said:

It's not as if you're at all a stranger to sensationalism on these forums. Besides, I'm informally bantering on a forum where politics is being discussed casually, not trying to seriously publish a book I expect to taken seriously and given respect and credence. Can I REALLY be held to the same standards?

Not at all, nor was I holding you to such standard. I was simply observing the irony in sensationalizing a critique of sensationalism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Patine said:

It's not as if you're at all a stranger to sensationalism on these forums. Besides, I'm informally bantering on a forum where politics is being discussed casually, not trying to seriously publish a book I expect to taken seriously and given respect and credence. Can I REALLY be held to the same standards?

 

38 minutes ago, Reagan04 said:

I enjoy your criticism of sensationalism which uses all-capitalized adverbs.

 

25 minutes ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

lmfao

Can we just keep the thread to the topic at hand. Send private messages for personal attacks on off-topic discussion. That might be the more respectable way to do that anyway. When the conversation goes off topic, then people are liable to not read the content since it will soon appear that the conversation on the topic is dead.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Reagan04 said:

Not at all, nor was I holding you to such standard. I was simply observing the irony in sensationalizing a critique of sensationalism.

Irony is different than hypocrisy. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, vcczar said:

 

 

Can we just keep the thread to the topic at hand. Send private messages for personal attacks on off-topic discussion. That might be the more respectable way to do that anyway. When the conversation goes off topic, then people are liable to not read the content since it will soon appear that the conversation on the topic is dead.  

I apologize. I wasn't going any further with that one, either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

His list of 2,300+ congressional "actions" is interesting. I'm improving his spreadsheet which isn't very readable. It also isn't sortable, but it will be when I'm done with it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, vcczar said:

His list of 2,300+ congressional "actions" is interesting. I'm improving his spreadsheet which isn't very readable. It also isn't sortable, but it will be when I'm done with it. 

Can you share the spreadsheet with us? :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...