Home > A3, Learning > Congressional Government: So Who’s the Leader?

Congressional Government: So Who’s the Leader?

Recently in Government class, we discussed and had an activity consisting of annotating an online version of “Congressional Government” by Woodrow Wilson.  In Wilson’s book, he talks about how Congress has no true leader, and that having multiple leaders and speakers only creates confusion and usually a divided collection of thoughts and discussions.

By using example such as “But there is no great minister or ministry to represent the will and being of Congress in the common thought. The Speaker of the House of Representatives stands as near to leadership as anyone” and “It is this multiplicity of leaders, this many-headed leadership, which makes the organization of the House too complex to afford uninformed people and unskilled observers any easy clue to its methods of rule” (Wilson 1-2), Wilson explains that our structure of Congress is ineffective in terms of having a leader and having an obvious representative of Congress.  He believes that the British government is much more effective and gets more things done because they have a true leader, the prime minister.  Wilson hopes that one day the United States can find a way to make their government better and have more positive results in decision making and different situations.  He also says that our government wouldn’t have such a hard time making decisions, being in a state of confusion, and being distressed as often IF we had a leader who could be a the decision maker and the put the ‘hammer’ down on what needs to happen.

I do believe what Wilson is saying has value to it.  It is obvious that our Congress doesn’t have a clear-cut leader, thus making leadership roles very confusing.  As an American, it would be nice to have someone be a true leader of Congress; although we do have a speaker of the house, like Wilson said, he or she doesn’t play a huge leadership role, or at least an obvious one that makes him or her stand out as the leader.  Knowing that there is confusion and doubtfulness within congress doesn’t help me sleep at night, but I do know that there are people out there who are trying to better our government and the way we try and decide how we do things in our country.

I truly enjoyed learning from this activity because it allowed me to get a sense of how people felt about our Congress, especially since what Wilson was talking about still applies today.  I also enjoyed annotating because it helped me get a sense of what a President of the United States had to say about our government and how it works.

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  1. May 1, 2012 at 9:36 am

    great blog! but make sure to cite your sources and quotes by making your quotes hyperlinks.

  2. juliewheeler15
    May 1, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I agree with Jack. Very nice blog. Very good information about Wilson and I agreed with your opinion about how we today do not have a clear leader in Congress which is needed greatly. Agian very nice blog!

  3. May 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Good effort!

    … just one note for clarification, perhaps: when Wilson writes about Congress being confusing/difficult to understand, I think he was meaning confusing for American citizens to understand. I’m not sure if that’s what you’re concluding in paragraph 3 when you write: “… thus making leadership roles very confusing” – it sounds as though you could mean confusing to members within the institution, and I’m not sure that’s a cause of Congress’s lack of action / gridlock.

    I’m curious – maybe you just need to clarify your point?

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