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How the Speaker of the US House of Representatives from the ‘Other Party’ Shaped American Politics Since 1945


  • Saumyajit Ray


In the presidential system of government in the United States, the President’s party has on more than one occasion been reduced to a minority in the federal legislature. The US President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives—the leader of the majority party—had often found themselves clashing on matters of policy, legislation, and executive action. This essay makes a careful selection of five House Speakers in the post-1945 period, all belonging to the ‘other party’, and explores their relations with the Presidents of their times. Out of these, only Newt Gingrich succeeded in dividing the government as never before, demonstrating that the House Speaker had the capacity to stall government altogether, something even a ‘Leader of the Opposition’ in a parliamentary system can never do.

Suggested Citation

  • Saumyajit Ray, 2012. "How the Speaker of the US House of Representatives from the ‘Other Party’ Shaped American Politics Since 1945," International Studies, , vol. 49(3-4), pages 377-395, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:intstu:v:49:y:2012:i:3-4:p:377-395

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