United States House of Representatives elections, 1874

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United States House of Representatives elections, 1874
United States
1872 ←
November 3, 1874[1]
→ 1876

All 293[2] seats to the United States House of Representatives
147 seats were needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
  Michael C. Kerr - Brady-Handy.jpg JamesGBlaine.png
Leader Michael Kerr James Blaine
Party Democratic Republican
Leader's seat Indiana-3rd Maine-3rd
Last election 89 seats 203 seats
Seats won 179[3] 110[4]
Seat change Increase 90 Decrease 93
Popular vote 2,758,223 2,633,140
Percentage 45.7% 43.6%
Swing Increase 2.4% Decrease 7.4%

Speaker before election

James Blaine
Republican

Elected Speaker

Michael Kerr
Democratic

Elections to the United States House of Representatives were held in 1874 and 1875 for Representatives to the 44th Congress, occurring in the middle of President Ulysses S. Grant's second term with a deep economic depression underway. It was an important turning point, as the Republicans lost heavily and the Democrats gained control of the House. It signaled the imminent end of Reconstruction, which Democrats opposed. Historians emphasize the factors of economic depression and attacks on the Grant administration for corruption as key factors in the vote.[5]

With the election following the Panic of 1873, Grant's Republican Party was crushed in the elections, losing their majority and almost half their seats to the Democratic Party. This was the first period of Democratic control since the pre-war era. The economic crisis and the inability of Grant to find a solution led to his party's defeat.

In the south, the Democrats and Conservatives continued their systematic destruction of the Republican coalition. In the South, Scalawags moved into the Democratic Party. The Democratic landslide signaled the imminent end of Reconstruction, which Democrats opposed and a realignment of the Republican coalition that had dominated American politics since the late 1850s.[6]

While the ongoing end of Reconstruction in the South was one of the main reasons for the shift, turn-of-the-century Bourbon Democrat historian James Ford Rhodes explored the multiple causes of the results in the North:[7]

"In the fall elections of 1874 the issue was clearly defined: Did the Republican President Ulysses S. Grant and Congress deserve the confidence of the country? and the answer was unmistakably No....
"The Democrats had won a signal victory, obtaining control of the next House of Representatives which would stand Democrats 168, Liberals and Independents 14, Republicans 108 as against the two-thirds Republican majority secured by the election of 1872. Since 1861 the Republicans had controlled the House and now with its loss came a decrease in their majority in the Senate....

Rhodes continues:

"The political revolution from 1872 to 1874 was due to the failure of the Southern policy of the Republican party, to the Credit Mobilier and Sanborn contract scandals, to corrupt and inefficient administration in many departments and to the persistent advocacy of Grant by some close friends and hangers-on for a third presidential term. Some among the opposition were influenced by the President's backsliding in the cause of civil service reform, and others by the failure of the Republican party to grapple successfully with the financial question. The depression, following the financial Panic of 1873, and the number of men consequently out of employment weighed in the scale against the party in power. In Ohio, the result was affected by the temperance crusade in the early part of the year. Bands of women of good social standing marched to saloons before which or in which they sang hymns and, kneeling down, prayed that the great evil of drink might be removed. Sympathizing men wrought with them in causing the strict law of the State against the sale of strong liquor to be rigidly enforced. Since Republicans were in the main the instigators of the movement, it alienated from their party a large portion of the German American vote."

Election summaries[edit]

Colorado was admitted as a State in 1876 adding one new seat.[8] Colorado held two elections in 1876, one for the last part of the 44th Congress, and the second, in November, for the 45th Congress.

179 4 110
Democratic I Republican
State Type Total
seats
Democratic Republican Independent
Seats Change Seats Change Seats Change
Alabama District
+ 2 at-large
8 6 Increase 4 2 Decrease 4 0 Steady
Arkansas District[9] 4 4 Increase 4 0 Decrease 4 0 Steady
California[10] District 4 3 Increase 2 1 Decrease 2 0 Steady
Colorado[11] At-large 1 0 Steady 1 Increase 1 0 Steady
Connecticut[10] District 4 3 Increase 2 1 Decrease 2 0 Steady
Delaware At-large 1 1 Increase 1 0 Decrease 1 0 Steady
Florida District[12] 2 0 Steady 2 Steady 0 Steady
Georgia[13] District 9 9[3] Increase 2 0 Decrease 2 0 Steady
Illinois District 19 10 Increase 5 7 Decrease 7 2 Increase 2
Indiana[13] District[9] 13 8 Increase 5 5 Decrease 5 0 Steady
Iowa[13] District 9 1 Increase 1 8 Decrease 1 0 Steady
Kansas District[12] 3 1 Increase 1 2 Decrease 1 0 Steady
Kentucky District 10 9 Decrease 1 1 Increase 1 0 Steady
Louisiana District[9] 6 3 Increase 3 3 Decrease 3 0 Steady
Maine[13] District 5 0 Steady 5 Steady 0 Steady
Maryland District 6 6 Increase 2 0 Decrease 2 0 Steady
Massachusetts District 11 4 Increase 4 5 Decrease 6 2 Increase 2
Michigan District 9 3 Increase 3 6 Decrease 3 0 Steady
Minnesota District 3 0 Steady 3 Steady 0 Steady
Mississippi District 6 4 Increase 3 2[14] Decrease 3 0 Steady
Missouri District 13 13 Increase 4 0 Decrease 4 0 Steady
Nebraska[13] At-large 1 0 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady
Nevada At-large 1 0 Decrease 1 1 Increase 1 0 Steady
New Hampshire[10] District 3 2 Increase 1 1 Decrease 1 0 Steady
New Jersey District 7 5 Increase 4 2 Decrease 4 0 Steady
New York District[9] 33 17 Increase 8 16[14] Decrease 8 0 Steady
North Carolina[13] District 8 7 Increase 2 1 Decrease 2 0 Steady
Ohio[13] District 20 13 Increase 7 7 Decrease 7 0 Steady
Oregon[13] At-large 1 1 Increase 1 0 Decrease 1 0 Steady
Pennsylvania District[9] 27 17 Increase 12 10 Decrease 12 0 Steady
Rhode Island District 2 0 Steady 2 Steady 0 Steady
South Carolina District[9] 5 0 Steady 5[14] Steady 0 Steady
Tennessee District[9] 10 9 Increase 6 1 Decrease 6 0 Steady
Texas District[9] 6 6 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Vermont[13] District 3 0 Steady 3[14] Steady 0 Steady
Virginia District 9 8 Increase 4 1 Decrease 4 0 Steady
West Virginia[13] District 3 3 Increase 1 0 Decrease 1 0 Steady
Wisconsin District 8 3 Increase 1 5 Decrease 1 0 Steady
Total 293[2] 179[3]
61.1%
Increase 90 110[4]
37.5%
Decrease 93 4
1.4%
Increase 4
House seats
Democratic
  
61.09%
Republican
  
37.54%
Others
  
1.37%

In 1845, Congress passed a law providing for a uniform nationwide date for choosing Presidential electors. This law did not affect election dates for Congress, which remained within the jurisdiction of State governments, but over time, the States moved their Congressional elections to that date. By the 1870s, the majority of states had moved their elections to that date. In 1874/5, there were still 10 states with earlier election dates, and 3 states with later election dates:

In addition, Colorado held its first election some time in 1876.

House seats by party holding plurality in state
  80.1-100% Democratic
  80.1-100% Republican
  60.1-80% Democratic
  60.1-80% Republican
  Up to 60% Democratic
  Up to 60% Republican
  6+ Democratic gain
  6+ Republican gain
  3-5 Democratic gain
  3-5 Republican gain
  1-2 Democratic gain
  1-2 Republican gain
  no net change

All races[edit]

California[edit]

District Incumbent Party Elected Results Candidates
California 1 Charles Clayton Republican
1872
Retired
Democratic gain
William Adam Piper (D) 49.1%
Ira P. Rankin (R) 26.8%
John F. Swift (I) 24.1%
California 2 Horace F. Page Republican
1872
Re-elected Horace F. Page (R) 43.4%
Henry Larkin (D) 38.7%
Charles A. Tuttle (I) 17.8%
California 3 John K. Luttrell Democratic
1872
Re-elected John K. Luttrell (D) 46.7%
C. B. Denio (R) 36.1%
Charles F. Reed (I) 17.1%
California 4 Sherman O. Houghton Republican
1870
Lost re-election
Democratic gain
Peter D. Wigginton (D) 48.8%
Sherman O. Houghton (R) 34.6%
J. S. Thompson (I) 16.7%

Florida[edit]

District Incumbent Party Elected Results Candidates
Florida 1 William J. Purman
Redistricted from the at-large district
Republican 1872 Re-elected William J. Purman (R) 53.0%
John Henderson (D) 47.0%
Florida 2 Josiah T. Walls
Redistricted from the at-large district
Republican 1870 Re-elected Josiah T. Walls (R) 51.1%
Jesse J. Finley (D) 48.9%

In the 2nd district, Jesse J. Finley (D) successfully challenged the election of Josiah T. Walls (R) and took his seat April 19, 1876

South Carolina[edit]

District Incumbent Party Elected Results Candidates
South Carolina 1 Joseph Rainey Republican 1870 (special) Re-elected Joseph Rainey (R) 51.4%
Samuel Lee (IR) 48.6%
South Carolina 2 Alonzo J. Ransier Republican 1872 Retired
Independent Republican gain
Edmund W. M. Mackey (IR) 54.1%
Charles W. Buttz (R) 45.9%
South Carolina 3 Previous incumbent Robert B. Elliott resigned in 1874 Republican hold Solomon L. Hoge (R) 56.1%
Samuel McGowan (C) 43.9%
South Carolina 4 Alexander S. Wallace Republican 1868 Re-elected Alexander S. Wallace (R) 53.2%
Joseph B. Kershaw (C) 46.8%
South Carolina 5 Richard H. Cain
Redistricted from the at-large district
Republican 1872 Retired
Republican hold
Robert Smalls (R) 79.4%
J. P. M. Epping (IR) 19.9%
Others 0.7%

In the 2nd district, Charles W. Buttz (R) successfully challenged the election of Edmund W. M. Mackey (IR). The seat was declared vacant July 19, 1876 and was filled in a special election held at the same time as the general election, which was won by Buttz.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Most States. 13 States held regular elections on different dates between June 1, 1874 and September 7, 1875
  2. ^ a b Includes late elections
  3. ^ a b c Includes 1 Independent Democrat
  4. ^ a b Includes 4 Independent Republicans
  5. ^ Nicolas Barreyre, "The Politics of Economic Crises: The Panic of 1873, the End of Reconstruction, and the realignment of American Politics." Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (2011) 10#4 pp 403-423
  6. ^ James E. Campbell, "Party Systems and Realignments in the United States, 1868-2004," Social Science History, Fall 2006, Vol. 30 Issue 3, pp 359-386
  7. ^ James Ford Rhodes (1920). History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850: 1872-1877. The Macmillan company. p. 67. 
  8. ^ 13 Stat. 34
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h At-large seats eliminated in districting
  10. ^ a b c Elections held late
  11. ^ New state
  12. ^ a b Changed from at-large
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Elections held early
  14. ^ a b c d Includes 1 Independent Republican

References[edit]

  • Appletons' Annual Cyclopædia, 1874 (1875), covers every state.
  • Barreyre, Nicolas. "The Politics of Economic Crises: The Panic of 1873, the End of Reconstruction, and the realignment of American Politics." Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (Oct. 2011) 10#4 pp 403–423
  • Gillette, William. Retreat from Reconstruction, 1869-1879 (1982)
  • House, Albert V. "The Speakership Contest of 1875: Democratic Response to Power," Journal of American History Vol. 52, No. 2 (Sep., 1965), pp. 252–274 in JSTOR
  • Rhodes, James Ford. History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896. Volume: 7. 1920.