Political Science Now

From Rules to Representation: Teaching about the Territories and their Delegates in the US Congress

From Rules to Representation: Teaching about the Territories and their Delegates in the US Congress

by Jonathan Lewallen, University of Texas at Austin

This article is part of a symposium on better integrating the U.S. territories into political science, and discusses how to incorporate the territories and the District of Columbia into an undergradute course on the U.S. Congress. The territories and D.C. often are omitted from Congress courses even though these areas are represented in the House of Representatives. They do not enjoy Senate representation, however, and the delegates that represent the territories and D.C. cannot cast roll call votes. The U.S. citizens who live in these territories thus experience a different, and some would argue incomplete, form of representation in American politics. Many of the themes discussed in an undergraduate Congress course, including the rules members adopt, how legislators pursue re-election, public policy outcomes, and the institution’s role in the U.S. political system, can be enhanced by discussing the nonvoting delegates and their distinct place within Congress.

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PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 50, Issue 2 / April 2017