United States House of Representatives elections, 1874
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.
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. This was the second-largest swing in the history of the House (only behind the 1894 elections), and is the largest House loss in the history of the Republican Party.
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.
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:
- "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....
- "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."
+ 2 at-large
|Georgia[Note 12]||District||9||9[Note 5]||2||0||2||0|
|Indiana[Note 12]||District[Note 8]||13||8||5||5||5||0|
|New Hampshire[Note 9]||District||3||2||1||1||1||0|
|New York||District[Note 8]||33||17||8||16[Note 13]||8||0|
|North Carolina[Note 12]||District||8||7||2||1||2||0|
|South Carolina||District[Note 8]||5||0||5||0|
|Vermont[Note 12]||District||3||0||3[Note 13]||0|
|West Virginia[Note 12]||District||3||3||1||0||1||0|
|Total||293[Note 2]||183[Note 5]
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 this date as well. In 1874–75, there were still 10 states with earlier election dates, and 3 states with later election dates:
- Early elections (1874):
- Late elections (1875):
In addition, Colorado held its first election some time in 1876.
|California 1||Charles Clayton||Republican||
|William Adam Piper (D) 49.1%
Ira P. Rankin (R) 26.8%
John F. Swift (I) 24.1%
|California 2||Horace F. Page||Republican||
||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||
||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||
|Peter D. Wigginton (D) 48.8%
Sherman O. Houghton (R) 34.6%
J. S. Thompson (I) 16.7%
|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%
|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
|Robert Smalls (R) 79.4%
J. P. M. Epping (IR) 19.9%
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.
- The majority of states held their elections on this date. 13 other states held regular elections on different dates between June 1, 1874 and September 7, 1875.
- Includes late elections.
- Included 1 Independent Democrat.
- In addition, there were 4 Liberal Republicans elected in 1872.
- Includes 1 Independent Democrat, William H. Felton, elected to GA-07.
- Includes 3 Independent Republicans elected to MS-02, NY-03 and VT-02.
- Includes 4 Independents elected to IL-07, IL-19, MA-05 and MA-10.
- At-large seats eliminated in redistricting.
- Elections held late.
- New state.
- Changed from at-large.
- Elections held early.
- Includes 1 Independent Republican.
- Martis, pp. 128–129.
- 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
- 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
- James Ford Rhodes (1920). History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850: 1872-1877. The Macmillan company. p. 67.
- 13 Stat. 34
- Statutes at Large, 28th Congress, 2nd Session, p. 721.
- Dubin, Michael J. (March 1, 1998). United States Congressional Elections, 1788-1997: The Official Results of the Elections of the 1st Through 105th Congresses. McFarland and Company. ISBN 978-0786402830.
- Martis, Kenneth C. (January 1, 1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress, 1789-1989. Macmillan Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0029201701.
- Moore, John L., ed. (1994). Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections (Third ed.). Congressional Quarterly Inc. ISBN 978-0871879967.
- "Party Divisions of the House of Representatives* 1789–Present". Office of the Historian, House of United States House of Representatives. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
- Office of the Historian (Office of Art & Archives, Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives)