Lobbying and Interest Group Advocacy

Beth L. Leech

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Congress

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199559947
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

 Lobbying and Interest Group Advocacy

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Lobbyists in the mid-twentieth century were defined as “pressure groups”. They are described as twisting arms and “pressuring” members of Congress. However, this image of lobbyists changed in the 1960s, when a new view of lobbying emerged. The once defined “pressure groups” are now defined as “interest groups”. Today, the term pressure group has faded from use. Most scholars now use the term interest group or organized interest. These terms encompass any type of organization that aims to influence public policy. While pressure groups in the early nineteenth century were restricted to advocating for public policy, nowadays interest groups can advocate for public policy, mount grassroots campaigns, undertake public relations, and engage in monitoring what the policymakers are doing. This article surveys literature on lobbying and interest group influence on Congress. It also shows the way research has not supported many of the popular beliefs on lobbying and interest groups.

Keywords: lobbyists; pressure groups; interest groups; organized interest; public policy; advocate; interest group influence; lobbying

Article.  9751 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Institutions

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