Document Type

Honors Thesis


Political Science


Mark Brewer

Committee Members

Richard Powell, Robert Glover

Graduation Year

May 2023

Publication Date

Spring 2023


Over the last few decades scholars have noted the new structure of Congress has become much more leader centric, with them holding more power than they had in the past. This has helped to foster polarization within Congress as a body, by making bipartisanship a more difficult process and poses the question: why would a moderate member of Congress choose to pursue a career where their goal and insights are largely discounted by the rest of the body they serve in? In order to determine whether these new limitations on moderates impact their presence this thesis will analyze a number of changes that occurred in the US Congress over a twenty year period, dating back to 1993 until 2011, which scholarship suggests diminish the agency of moderate members of Congress and analyze how the moderate share of Congress reacts to the change. While data suggest that the changes to the rules and norms of Congress may have amplified polarization, they did not impact the number of moderates in the House.

Rights and Access Note

Copyright James D. Hotham All Rights Reserved