United States House of Representatives elections, 1854

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United States House of Representatives elections, 1854
United States
1852 ←
August 4, 1854 - November 6, 1855 → 1856

All 234 seats to the United States House of Representatives
118 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  William Alexander Richardson - Brady-Handy.jpg Nathaniel Prentice Banks.jpg
Leader William Alexander Richardson[1] Henry M. Fuller[2] Nathaniel P. Banks[3]
Party Democratic Whig American
Leader's seat Illinois-5th Pennsylvania-12th Massachusetts-7th
Last election 154 seats 69 seats 0 seats
Seats won 82 seats 54 seats 52 seats
Seat change Decrease 72 seats Decrease 15 seats Increase 52 seats

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Lewis D. Campbell 35th Congress 1859.jpg Lewis D. Campbell 35th Congress 1859.jpg Hon. Henry S. Lane, Ind - NARA - 525685.jpg
Leader Lewis D. Campbell[4] Lewis D. Campbell[5] Henry S. Lane[6]
Party Anti-Nebraska Republican People's
Leader's seat Ohio-3rd Ohio-3rd Non-Member
Last election 0 seats 0 seats 0 seats
Seats won 22 seats 13 seats 9 seats
Seat change Increase 22 seats Increase 13 seats Increase 9 seats

  Seventh party Eighth party
  Giddings brady 1955-65rr.jpg Anthony Ellmaker Roberts.jpg
Leader Joshua Reed Giddings[7] Anthony Ellmaker Roberts[8]
Party Free Soil Independent
Leader's seat Ohio-20th Pennsylvania-9th
Last election 4 seats 0 seats
Seats won 1 seat 1 seat[9]
Seat change Decrease 3 seats Increase 1 seat[10]

Speaker before election

Linn Boyd
Democratic

Elected Speaker

Nathaniel P. Banks
American/Republican

Elections to the United States House of Representatives for the 34th Congress were held at various dates in each State, the earliest being on August 4, 1854 (in Arkansas) and the latest on November 6, 1855 (in Louisiana and Maryland).

The American Party, along with the Opposition Party, formed a coalition government which elected Nathaniel P. Banks as House Speaker and defeated the Democratic Party. The Opposition Party included Republicans, Whigs, Americans, Populists, Free Soil, and Anti-Nebraska candidates.

The major issue of the election was the Kansas-Nebraska Act which had been passed on May 30, 1854. The Act infuriated much of the North, as it repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and opened the Federal territories to slavery. As Democrats had been the primary supporters of the Act, the party lost many seats in the Northern states, including 16 in New York and 10 in Pennsylvania. The new Anti-Nebraska movement and Republican Party gained a combined 35 seats, all in the North. The American Party gained seats in both the North and South. It ignored the slavery issue and focused on pushing for reduced immigration, especially from Catholic areas of Ireland and Germany.

The fragmentation of the Democratic and Whig parties led to a drawn out election for Speaker of the House. The minority Democratic Party supported William Alexander Richardson of Illinois as their candidate. Whigs, Republicans, Americans, and Free Soil members of the House supported various candidates, and no candidate received a majority vote. In the end, the House agreed to elect a Speaker by plurality vote, as the elections were taking up time for legislative matters. Non-Democratic members of Congress then elected Nathaniel P. Banks of Massachusetts as their Speaker.[11]

Election summaries[edit]

152 82
American/Opposition Coalition Democratic
State Type Date Total
seats
Opposition Democratic American
Seats Change[12] Seats Change Seats Change
Illinois District November 7, 1854
(Election Day)[13]
9 4 Steady 5 Steady 0 Steady
Michigan District 4 3 Increase2 1 Decrease3 0 Steady
New Jersey District 5 4 Increase3 1 Decrease3 0 Steady
New York District 33 25 Increase13 5 Decrease16 3 Increase3
Wisconsin District 3 2 Increase2 1 Decrease2 0 Steady
Arkansas District August 4, 1854 2 0 Steady 2 Steady 0 Steady
California At-large September 6, 1854 2 0 Steady 2 Steady 0 Steady
Delaware At-large November 14, 1854 1 0 Steady 0 Decrease1 1 Increase1
Florida At-large October 2, 1854 1 0 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady
Indiana District October 10, 1854 11 9 Increase8 2 Decrease8 0 Steady
Iowa District August 7, 1854 2 1 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady
Maine District September 11, 1854 6 5 Increase2 1 Decrease2 0 Steady
Massachusetts District November 12, 1854 11 0 Decrease10 0 Decrease1 11 Increase11
Missouri District August 7, 1854 7 6 Increase2 1 Decrease2 0 Steady
Ohio District October 10, 1854 21 20 Increase11 0 Decrease12 1 Increase1
Pennsylvania District October 10, 1854 25 18 Increase9 6 Decrease10 1 Increase1
South Carolina District October 9–10, 1854 6 0 Steady 6 Steady 0 Steady
Vermont District September 5, 1854 3 3 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
1855 elections
Alabama District August 6, 1855 7 0 Decrease1 5 Decrease1 2 Increase2
Connecticut District April 2, 1855 4 0 Steady 0 Decrease4 4 Increase4
Georgia District October 1, 1855 8 0 Decrease2 6 Steady 2 Increase2
Kentucky District August 6, 1855 10 0 Decrease5 4 Decrease1 6 Increase6
Louisiana District November 5, 1855 4 0 Decrease1 3 Steady 1 Increase1
Maryland District November 6, 1855 6 0 Decrease2 2 Decrease2 4 Increase4
Mississippi District[14] November 5–6, 1855 5 0 Steady 4 Decrease1 1 Increase1
New Hampshire District March 13, 1855 3 0 Steady 0 Decrease3 3 Increase3
North Carolina District August 2, 1855 8 0 Decrease3 5 Steady 3 Increase3
Rhode Island District April 4, 1855 2 0 Steady 0 Decrease2 2 Increase2
Tennessee District August 2, 1855 10 0 Decrease5 5 Steady 5 Increase5
Texas District August 6, 1855 2 0 Steady 1 Decrease1 1 Increase1
Virginia District May 24, 1855 13 0 Steady 12 Decrease1 1 Increase1
Total 234 100
42.7%
Increase24[15] 82
35.0%
Decrease76 52
22.2%
Increase52
House seats
Opposition
  
42.74%
Democratic
  
35.04%
American
  
22.22%

Complete returns[edit]

Arkansas[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Arkansas 1 Alfred B. Greenwood Democratic 1853 Re-elected
Arkansas 2 Albert Rust Democratic 1854 Retired
Democratic Hold

California[edit]

Note: From statehood to 1864, California's representatives were elected at-large, with the top two vote-getters winning election from 1849 to 1858; in 1860 when California gained a seat in the House the top three vote-getters were elected.

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
California at-large
2 seats on a general ticket
Milton S. Latham Democratic 1852 Withdrew
Democratic hold
James W. Denver (D) 22.41%
Philemon T. Herbert (D) 22.24%

George W. Bowie (W) 21.14%
Calhoun Benham (W) 20.94%
James Churchman (Broderick Democrat) 6.09%
James A. McDougall (Broderick Democrat) 6.07%
Milton S. Latham (Broderick Democrat) 1.12%
James A. McDougall Democratic 1852 Lost re-election
Democratic hold

Florida[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Florida at-large Augustus Maxwell Democratic 1852 Re-elected Augustus Maxwell (D) 55.26%
Thomas Brown (W) 44.74%

Iowa[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Iowa 1 Bernhart Henn Democrat 1850 Retired
Democratic Hold
  • Augustus Hall (R) 50.27%
  • R.L. Clark (W) 49.50%
  • J.L. Ashbaugh (I) 0.23%
Iowa 2 William Vandever Whig 1852 Retired
Whig Hold

Maine[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Maine 1 Moses Macdonald Democrat 1850 Retired
Republican Gain
  • John M. Wood (R) 59.36%
  • Samuel Wells (D) 39.91%
  • Lorenzo D. Wilkinson (I) 0.74%
Maine 2 Samuel Mayall Democrat 1852 Retired
Republican Gain
  • John J. Perry (R) 56.88%
  • William K. Kimball (D) 42.46%
  • Charles J. Gilman (I) 0.66%
Maine 3 E. Wilder Farley Whig 1852 Lost re-election
Republican Gain
Maine 4 Samuel P. Benson Whig 1852 Re-elected
Republican Gain
Maine 5 Israel Washburn, Jr. Whig 1850 Re-elected
Republican Gain
Maine 6 Thomas J. D. Fuller Democrat 1848 Re-elected

Missouri[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Missouri 1 Thomas Hart Benton Benton Democrat 1852 Lost re-election
Whig Gain
Missouri 2 Alfred W. Lamb Democrat 1852 Retired
Whig Gain
Missouri 3 James J. Lindley Whig 1853 Re-elected
Missouri 4 Mordecai Oliver Whig 1852 Re-elected
  • Mordecai Oliver (W) 41.95%
  • S.L. Leonard (D) 34.21%
  • Shelton J. Howe (Benton Democrat) 19.08%
  • J.F. Pitt (Ind. Whig) 4.76%
Missouri 5 John G. Miller Whig 1850 Re-elected
Missouri 6 John S. Phelps Democratic 1844 Re-elected
Missouri 7 Samuel Caruthers Whig 1853 Re-elected

Pennsylvania[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Pennsylvania 1 Thomas B. Florence Democratic 1848 Re-elected
Pennsylvania 2 Joseph R. Chandler Whig 1848 Lost Reelection as Independent
Whig Gain
Pennsylvania 3 John Robbins Democrat 1848 Retired
Whig Gain
Pennsylvania 4 William Henry Witte Democrat 1852 Retired
American Gain
Pennsylvania 5 John McNair Democrat 1850 Retired
Democratic Hold
Pennsylvania 6 William Everhart Whig 1852 Retired
Democratic Gain
Pennsylvania 7 Samuel A. Bridges Democratic 1852 Lost re-election
Republican Gain
Pennsylvania 8 J. Glancy Jones Democratic 1854 Reelected
Pennsylvania 9 Isaac E. Hiester Whig 1852 Lost re-election
Independent Gain
Pennsylvania 10 Ner Middleswarth Whig 1852 Retired
Whig Hold
  • John C. Kunkel (W) 55.99%
  • Amos Boughter (D) 43.01%
  • George A. Seiler (I) 1.00%
Pennsylvania 11 Christian M. Straub Democrat 1852 Retired
Whig gain
  • James H. Campbell (R) 38.87%
  • William L. Dewart (D) 36.68%
  • Joseph W. Cake (D) 21.90%
  • Kimber Cleaver (KN) 2.56%
Pennsylvania 12 Hendrick B. Wright Democrat 1852 Lost Reelection
Whig gain
Pennsylvania 13 Asa Packer Democratic 1852 Reelected
  • Asa Packer (D) 58.67%
  • Edward F. Stewart (W) 41.33%
Pennsylvania 14 Galusha A. Grow Democrat 1850 Re-elected
Free Soil gain

Vermont[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Vermont 1 James Meacham Whig 1849 Re-elected
Vermont 2 Andrew Tracy Whig 1852 Retired
Republican Gain
  • Justin S. Morrill (R) 50.26%
  • J.W. Parker (D) 35.07%
  • Oscar L. Shafter (Free Soil) 14.68%
Vermont 3 Alvah Sabin Whig 1852 Re-elected

Wisconsin[edit]

[16]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Wisconsin 1 Daniel Wells, Jr. Democrat 1852 Re-elected
Wisconsin 2 Ben C. Eastman Whig 1850 Retired
Republican Gain
Wisconsin 3 Alvah Sabin Whig 1852 Lost Re-election
Republican Gain

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=383897
  2. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=383897
  3. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=383897
  4. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=383897
  5. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=383897
  6. ^ http://www.in.gov/history/files/Republican_Party_Chart.pdf
  7. ^ Only Free Soil Representative; joined Republicans during session.
  8. ^ Only Independent member of Congress.
  9. ^ 1 Independent Whig
  10. ^ 1 Independent Whig
  11. ^ Allan Nevins. Ordeal of the Union, Volume II: A House Dividing 1852-1857 (New York, 1947), 413-415.
  12. ^ Compared to Whigs, Free Soilers, and Independents in previous election
  13. ^ In 1845, Congress passed a law providing for a uniform date for choosing electors. Congressional elections were unaffected by this law, but the date was gradually adopted by the states for Congressional elections
  14. ^ At-large district abolished in redistricting
  15. ^ Compared to Whigs, Free Soilers, and Independents in previous election
  16. ^ "Wisconsin U.S. House Election Results". Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Retrieved 27 August 2014.