Linda L. Fowler

|Research Professor
Academic Appointments
  • Professor of Government, Emerita

  • Frank J. Reagan Chair in Policy Studies, Emerita

I focus on political institution in the United States and how they affect the behavior of political actors, such as members of Congress overseeing U.S. foreign policy, New Hampshire Primary voters, or presidents deciding whether or not to veto legislation.   In teaching, I emphasize the consequences of observed political behavior and instiutional outcomes  for policy outcomes and democratic governance.


Silsby 010
HB 6108




  • B.A. Smith College
  • M.A. University of Rochester
  • Ph.D. University of Rochester

Selected Publications

  • “The Continued Decline of Congressional Oversight of U.S. Foreign Policy," Ed. Ralph G. Carter and James M. Scott.  Congress and U.S.  Foreign Policy: Activism, Assertiveness and Acquiescence in a Polarized Era. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield

  • "Congress, Defense and Foreign Policy." In Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science. Ed. Sandy Maisel. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015 and updated October 2017, August 2020.

  •  “Veto-Proof Majorities, Legislative Procedures, and Presidential Decisions, 1981-2008.”  Co-author. Political Research Quarterly 70, 2(June 2017): 348-362.

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

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Works In Progress

  • “Changing Patterns of Witness Testimony in Congressional Oversight of U.S. Foreign Policy.”

  • “Beyond the Border Wars:  Representation, Group Scale and Multi-Member Districts,” co-authored.


  • "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.