31st United States Congress

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31st United States Congress
Capitol1846.jpg
United States Capitol (1846)

Duration: March 4, 1849 – March 4, 1851

Senate President: Millard Fillmore (until July 9, 1850)
Vacant (starting July 9, 1850)
Senate Pres. pro tem: David R. Atchison
William R. King
House Speaker: Howell Cobb
Members: 62 Senators
233 Representatives
2 Non-voting members
Senate Majority: Democratic
House Majority: none: Democratic plurality

Sessions
Special: March 5, 1849 – March 23, 1849
1st: December 3, 1849 – September 30, 1850
2nd: December 2, 1850 – March 4, 1851
<30th 32nd>

The Thirty-first United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1849 to March 4, 1851, during the last 17 months of the Zachary Taylor presidency and the first months of Millard Fillmore's. The apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the Sixth Census of the United States in 1840. The Senate had a Democratic majority, while there was a Democratic plurality in the House.

Major events[edit]

Major legislation[edit]

States admitted and territories organized[edit]

Party summary[edit]

Senate[edit]

During this Congress, two Senate seats were added for the new state of California.

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Democratic
(D)
Free Soil
(FS)
Whig
(W)
Other Vacant
End of previous Congress 36 0 23 1 60 0
Begin 32 2 25 0 59 1
End 36 24 62 0
Final voting share 58.1% 3.2% 38.7% 0.0%
Beginning of next Congress 34 4 22 0 60 2

House of Representatives[edit]

During this Congress, two House seats were added for the new state of California.

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates plurality caucus)
Total
American
(Know-nothing)
(A)
Democratic
(D)
Free Soil
(FS)
Whig
(W)
Independent
(I)
Other Vacant
End of previous Congress 1 111 0 114 1 2 229 1
Begin 1 113 9 107 0 0 230 1
End 1 231 2
Final voting share 0.4% 48.9% 3.9% 46.3% 0.4% 0.0%
Beginning of next Congress 0 128 3 85 0 17 233 0

Leadership[edit]

President of the Senate (U.S. Vice President) Millard Fillmore

Senate[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

Members[edit]

This list is arranged by chamber, then by state. Senators are listed in order of seniority, and Representatives are listed by district.

Senate[edit]

President pro tempore
David R. Atchison
President pro tempore
William R. King

Senators were elected by the state legislatures every two years, with one-third beginning new six-year terms with each Congress. Preceding the names in the list below are Senate class numbers, which indicate the cycle of their election. In this Congress, Class 1 meant their term ended with this Congress, requiring reelection in 1850; Class 2 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring reelection in 1852; and Class 3 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1854.

House of Representatives[edit]

Speaker Howell Cobb

The names of members of the House of Representatives are preceded by their district numbers.

Changes in membership[edit]

The count below reflects changes from the beginning of the first session of this Congress.

Senate[edit]

  • replacements: 5
  • deaths: 1
  • resignations: 3
  • seats from newly admitted states: 2
  • interim appointments: 4
  • Total seats with changes: 8


State
(class)
Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation
Illinois
(3)
James Shields (D) Senate voided election March 6, 1849 as Sen. Shields was determined not to have been a US citizen for the number of years required by the Constitution James Shields (D) Elected December 3, 1849
Maryland
(1)
Reverdy Johnson (W) Resigned March 7, 1849 having been appointed United States Attorney General David Stewart (W) Appointed December 6, 1849
Alabama
(2)
Benjamin Fitzpatrick (D) Sen. Dixon Lewis successor elected November 30, 1849 Jeremiah Clemens (D) Elected November 30, 1849
Maryland
(1)
David Stewart (W) Successor elected January 12, 1850 Thomas Pratt (W) Elected January 12, 1850
South Carolina
(2)
John C. Calhoun (D) Died March 31, 1850 Franklin H. Elmore (D) Appointed April 11, 1850
South Carolina
(2)
Franklin H. Elmore (D) Died May 29, 1850 Robert W. Barnwell (D) Appointed June 4, 1850
Ohio
(1)
Thomas Corwin (W) Resigned July 20, 1850 after being appointed United States Secretary of the Treasury Thomas Ewing (W) Appointed July 20, 1850
Massachusetts
(1)
Daniel Webster (W) Resigned July 22, 1850 after being appointed United States Secretary of State Robert C. Winthrop (W) Appointed July 30, 1850
California
(1)
California admitted to the Union September 9, 1850 and remained vacant until September 10, 1850 John C. Frémont (D) Elected September 10, 1850
California
(3)
California admitted to the Union September 9, 1850 and remained vacant until September 10, 1850 William M. Gwin (D) Elected September 10, 1850
South Carolina
(2)
Robert W. Barnwell (D) Successor elected December 18, 1850 Robert Rhett (D) Elected December 18, 1850
Massachusetts
(1)
Robert C. Winthrop (W) Successor elected February 1, 1851 Robert Rantoul, Jr. (W) Elected February 1, 1851

House of Representatives[edit]

  • replacements: 11
  • deaths: 8
  • resignations: 5
  • contested election:1
  • seats from newly admitted states: 2
  • Total seats with changes: 16


District Vacator Reason for change Successor Date successor
seated
Minnesota Territory At-large Vacant Seat remained vacant after territory became organized at end of previous congress Henry H. Sibley Seated July 7, 1849
Vermont 3rd George Perkins Marsh (W) Resigned some time in 1849 James Meacham (W) Seated December 3, 1849
Ohio 6th Rodolphus Dickinson (D) Died March 20, 1849 Amos E. Wood (D) Seated December 3, 1849
Virginia 15th Alexander Newman (D) Died September 8, 1849 Thomas Haymond (W) Seated November 8, 1849
Georgia 1st Thomas B. King (W) Resigned March 3, 1850 Joseph W. Jackson (D) Seated March 4, 1850
Iowa 1st William Thompson (D) Seat declared vacant June 29, 1850 after contested election. House ruled neither candidate entitled to seat and forced special election Daniel F. Miller (W) Seated December 20, 1850
Massachusetts 1st Robert C. Winthrop (W) Resigned July 30, 1850 after being appointed to the US Senate Samuel A. Eliot (W) Seated August 22, 1850
Louisiana 2nd Charles M. Conrad (W) Resigned August 17, 1850 after being appointed United States Secretary of War Henry A. Bullard (W) Seated December 5, 1850
New Hampshire 3rd James Wilson (W) Resigned September 9, 1850 George W. Morrison (D) Seated October 8, 1850
California At-large California admitted into the Union September 9, 1850 and seat remained vacant until September 11, 1850 Edward Gilbert (D) Seated September 11, 1850
California At-large California admitted into the Union September 9, 1850 and seat remained vacant until September 11, 1850 George W. Wright (I) Seated September 11, 1850
Pennsylvania 15th Henry Nes (W) Died September 10, 1850 Joel B. Danner (D) Seated December 2, 1850
Pennsylvania 11th Chester P. Butler (W) Died October 5, 1850 John Brisbin (D) Seated November 13, 1850
Louisiana 3rd John H. Harmanson (D) Died October 24, 1850 Alexander G. Penn (D) Seated December 30, 1850
Ohio 6th Amos E. Wood (D) Died November 19, 1850 John Bell (W) Seated January 7, 1851
Texas 1st David S. Kaufman (D) Died December 31, 1851 Vacant Not filled this term

Employees[edit]

Senate[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jenkins, Jeffery A.; Stewart III, Charles (April 2001). "Sophisticated Behavior and Speakership Elections: The Elections of 1849 and 1855–56". Midwest Political Science Association. Chicago, IL. p. 29. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. 
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1982). The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. 

External links[edit]