Publications by Year: 2018

Carpenter D, Resch T PSTZBN. Suffrage Petitioning as Formative Practice: American Women Presage and Prepare for the Vote, 1870-1920. Studies in American Political Development . 2018;32 (1) :24-48. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The American woman suffrage movement remade the U.S. Constitution and effected the broadest expansion of voting eligibility in the nation's history. Yet it did more than change laws and citizenship. It also plausibly shaped participatory patterns before and after the winning of voting rights for women. Drawing upon the idea of formative practice and reporting on a range of historical materials—including an original data set of 2,157 petitions sent to the U.S. Congress from 1874 to 1920 concerning women's voting rights—we focus on woman suffrage petitioning as both presaging the practice of voting and, in a sense, preparing tens of thousands of women for that activity. Our analyses reveal that, before 1920, suffrage petitioning activity was heightened in general and midterm election years (especially among Republican-leaning constituencies), suffrage petitioning both enabled and reflected organization in critical western states, and that post-suffrage women's turnout was immediately and significantly higher in states with greater pre-suffrage petitioning (controlling for a range of political, organizational, and demographic variables). In its claims, symbolism, habits, and temporality, suffrage petitioning differed from other petitioning in American political development and marked a formative practice for women on their way to voting.

Nall C, Schneer B CD. Paths of Recruitment: Rational Social Prospecting in Petition Canvassing. American Journal of Political Science. 2018;62 (1) :192-209. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Petition canvassers are political recruiters. Building upon the rational prospector model, we theorize that rational recruiting strategies are dynamic (Bayesian and time‐conscious), spatial (constrained by geography), and social (conditioned on relations between canvasser and prospect). Our theory predicts that canvassers will exhibit homophily in their canvassing preferences and will alternate between “door‐to‐door” and “attractor” (working in a central location) strategies based upon systematic geographical variation. They will adjust their strategies midstream (mid‐petition) based upon experience. Introducing methods to analyze canvassing data, we test these hypotheses on geocoded signatory lists from two petition drives—a 2005–6 anti–Iraq War initiative in Wisconsin and an 1839 antislavery campaign in New York City. Canvassers in these campaigns exhibited homophily to the point of following geographically and politically “inefficient” paths. In the aggregate, these patterns may exacerbate political inequality, limiting political involvement of the poorer and less educated.