Linda L. Fowler

Research Professor

Professor of Government
Frank J. Reagan Chair in Policy Studies, Emerita

I use social science theory and methods to examine how institutions work in the American democracy and then convey the consequences to students as citizens and future leaders.  My recent book examines how changes in the U.S. Senate undermined the capacity of its key national security committees to oversee the president's conduct of foreign relations.  My current courses focus on institutions as both constraints and facilitators for contemporary leaders and on the paradoxical relationship between politics and markets.

Curriculum Vitae
Silsby 207
HB 6108
B.A. Smith College
M.A. University of Rochester
Ph.D. University of Rochester

Selected Publications

"Watchdogs on the Hill: The Decline of Congressional Oversight of U.S. Foreign Relations," Princeton University Press, 2015

“Congressional War Powers.” In Eric Schickler and Frances Lee, eds. Handbook of the U.S. Congress ,” (London: Oxford University Press, 2011), Chapter 35.

“Looking for Sex in All the Wrong Places: Media Coverage of Gubernatorial Candidates, 1990-1997.” Perspectives 7, 3(September 2009): 519-536.

“Seen, but Not Heard: Committee Visibility, Democratization and Institutional Change in the Senate National Security Committees, 1947-2006,” with R B Law, Legislative Studies Quarterly , 33 (2008) 357-386.

“Make Way for the Party: The Rise and Fall of the Senate Security Committees,” with R B Law, Why Not Parties?: Party Effects in the United States Senate , N W Monroe, J M Roberts, and D W Rohde (eds.), (2008) Ch.7.

“The Effects of Retail Politics in the New Hampshire Primary,” with L Vavreck and C J Spiliotes, American Journal of Political Science , 46:3 (2002) 595-610.

“Campaign Ethics and the Politics of Personal Destruction,” in Campaigns and Elections American Style , C J Nelson and J A Thurber (eds.), (2004).

“Sheep in Wolves Clothing: Undeclared Voters in the New Hampshire Primary,” co-author, PS , (April 2003).

"Issue Advocacy Groups in the 2000 New Hampshire Primary." Co-author. In Paul S. Herrnson et al. The Interest Group Connection, 2nd ed., Washington, CQ Press, pp. 89-111, 2005.

"The New Hampshire Senate Race." In Larry Sabato, ed. Midterm Madness: The 2002 Elections, Rowman and Littlefield, 2003.

"Representation, Careerism and Term Limits: A Simulation," with Brian Frederking, in Congress on Display, Congress at Work, William T. Bianco, ed., Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

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Works in Progress

"Legislative Maneuvers, Super-sized Majorities and Presidential Response, 1981-2008" 

"Congress, Defense and Foreign Policy," Oxford Online Bibliographies

"The Taming of the Rules Committee"

Introductory Bio

Updated January, 2016

Linda L. Fowler is Professor of Government and Frank J. Reagan Chair in Policy Studies, Emerita, at Dartmouth College, where she continues to teach and conduct research.  She directed the Dartmouth’s Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and Social Sciences from 1995-2004.  Previously, she was Professor of Political Science in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.   She holds her B.A from Smith College and her MA and PhD from the University of Rochester.  Prior to obtaining her PhD, Fowler worked at the Environmental Protection Agency and for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Fowler specializes in American politics and has published books on congressional elections, including: Political Ambition: Who Decides to Run for Congress (Yale 1989) and Candidates, Congress and the American Democracy (Michigan, 1993).  She has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters on American politics, including articles on presidential primaries.   In 2005-2006, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship to study congressional oversight of defense and foreign policy by the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees.  She published the resulting book, Watchdogs on the Hill: The Decline of Congressional Oversight of U. S. Foreign Relations, with Princeton University Press in 2015.  Her current research addresses the phenomenon of veto-proof majorities in a polarized age and the transformation of the House Rules Committee from 1979-2010.

Fowler teaches courses on American politics, most recently a senior research seminar, “Politics and Markets,” and a mid-level course on “Leadership and Political Institutions.”

She has received awards for her teaching at both Syracuse University and Dartmouth College. 

Fowler is a frequent commentator on American politics, particularly the NH presidential primary, in various media outlets.  She has testified about term limits before the House Judiciary Committee and served as outside evaluator the Congressional Research Service's orientation program for new members. 

Fowler’s extensive professional service includes: Secretary of the American Political Science Association, Chair of the Legislative Studies Section, Program Chair for Legislative Studies for the American Political Science Association and the Midwest Political Science Association, as well as membership on various editorial boards, awards committees and task forces.  She was a member of an IREX delegation to the former Soviet Union in 1987 to discuss democratic reform and a member of the first APSA delegation in 1990 to the Japanese Political Science Association.