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
 
Party Democratic Whig American
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
 
Party Anti-Nebraska Republican People's
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
 
Party Free Soil Independent
Last election 4 seats 0 seats
Seats won 1 seat 1 seat[1]
Seat change Decrease 1 seat Increase 1 seat[2]

Speaker before election

Linn Boyd
Democratic

Elected Speaker

Nathaniel P. Banks
American

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)

This election was the beginning of the end for the Whigs. Party lines were very blurred and a minority government was formed, with the newly formed Republicans (formerly the Free Soil Party) and Whigs combined forces and caucused as the Opposition Party. Democrats lost a huge number of seats in the North due to the impending slavery crisis, but technically remained the largest single party in the House. The American Party (commonly known as the "Know-Nothings"), a faction based on the fears of immigration and Catholicism which had won several seats in previous elections, surged in popularity and held the balance of power. The large influx of immigrants from Catholic Ireland, escaping the potato famine, and from Catholic Southern Germany, departing due to political and economic instability, shocked many American Protestants and allowed the American Party to grow. The Whigs, divided over the issue of slavery, lost several seats and began to disintegrate. Meanwhile, the newly formed Republican Party, which was anti-slavery and pro-industry, quickly became a force in the North.

Election summaries[edit]

82 52 100
Democratic AKN Opposition
State Type Date Total
seats
Opposition Democratic American
Seats Change[3] Seats Change Seats Change
Illinois District November 7, 1854
(Election Day)[4]
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[5] 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[6] 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
Know-Nothing 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

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1 Independent Whig
  2. ^ 1 Independent Whig
  3. ^ Compared to Whigs, Free Soilers, and Independents in previous election
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ At-large district abolished in redistricting
  6. ^ Compared to Whigs, Free Soilers, and Independents in previous election