46th United States Congress

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46th United States Congress
45th ←
→ 47th

March 4, 1879 – March 4, 1881
Members76 senators
293 representatives
8 non-voting delegates
Senate MajorityDemocrat
Senate PresidentWilliam A. Wheeler (R)
House MajorityDemocrat (coalition)
House SpeakerSamuel J. Randall (D)
1st: March 18, 1879 – July 1, 1879
2nd: December 1, 1879 – June 16, 1880
3rd: December 6, 1880 – March 3, 1881

The 46th 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, 1879, to March 4, 1881, during the last two years of Rutherford Hayes's presidency.

The apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the Ninth Census of the United States in 1870. The Senate had a Democratic majority, while the House of Representatives had a Democratic plurality. The Democrats were still able to control the House, however, with the help of the Independent politicians who caucused with them.

Party summary[edit]


(shading shows control)
Total Vacant

End of previous congress 1 36 38 1 0 76 0
Begin 1 42 31 1 0 75 1
Final voting share 1.3% 56.0% 41.3% 1.3% 0.0%
Beginning of next congress 0 37 36 1 1[a] 75 1

House of Representatives[edit]

(shading shows control)
Total Vacant

End of previous congress 154 1 0 0 136 291 2
Begin 141 6 0 13 131 291 2
End 143 129
Final voting share 49.1% 2.1% 0.0% 4.5% 44.3%
Beginning of next congress 128 1 1 10 151 291 0


President of the Senate
William A. Wheeler
Senate President pro tempore Allen G. Thurman
House Speaker Samuel J. Randall


House of Representatives[edit]

Major events[edit]

  • Depression of 1873–79
  • March 18, 1879: Samuel J. Randall was elected in one of the most tightly fought contests for the speakership after the Civil War. Randall, who favored the protective tariff and "hard money," drew his greatest strength from northern cities and greatest opposition from the west and south. The midterm elections of 1878 had gone badly for the Democrats, with the Greenback Party making inroads in key districts. This emboldened Randall's opponents, who rallied to the support of Joseph Blackburn from Kentucky. In the end, Randall prevailed in the Democratic caucus to receive the nomination, with 75 votes to Blackburn's 57 and a scattering of 9 votes to three other candidates. Blackburn, in moving to make Randall's nomination unanimous, steered his supporters away from the nomination of Hendrick B. Wright, a Democrat from Pennsylvania who was nominated by the Greenbacks. In the eventual vote in the House to elect the Speaker, Randall prevailed with 144 votes, to 125 for James Garfield (Republican from Ohio), 13 for Wright, and one for William "Pig Iron" Kelley (Pennsylvania).
  • November 2, 1880: U.S. presidential election, 1880: James Garfield (R) defeated Winfield S. Hancock (D)
  • February 19, 1881: Kansas became the first state to prohibit alcohol.

Major legislation[edit]


This list is arranged by chamber, then by state. Senators are listed by class, and representatives are listed by district.

Skip to House of Representatives, below


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 re-election in 1880; Class 2 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring re-election in 1882; and Class 3 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring re-election in 1884.

House of Representatives[edit]

The names of members 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.


  • Replacements: 4
  • Deaths: 3
  • Resignations: 1
  • Interim appointments: 2
  • Total seats with changes: 5
Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation[b]
New Hampshire (3) Vacant Legislature had failed to elect.
An interim successor was appointed March 13, 1879.
Charles H. Bell (R) March 13, 1879
New Hampshire (3) Charles H. Bell (R) Successor elected June 18, 1879, but did not begin service until June 20, 1879, for unknown reasons. Henry W. Blair (R) June 20, 1879
Michigan (1) Zachariah Chandler (R) Died November 1, 1879.
Successor appointed November 17, 1879, to continue the term.
Appointee was elected January 19, 1881, to finish the term.
Henry P. Baldwin (R) November 17, 1879
Alabama (3) George S. Houston (D) Died December 31, 1879.
Successor appointed January 7, 1880, to continue the term.
Luke Pryor (D) January 7, 1880
Georgia (3) John B. Gordon (D) Resigned May 26, 1880, to promote building of the Georgia Pacific Railway.
Successor elected May 26, 1880.
Joseph E. Brown (D) May 26, 1880
Alabama (3) Luke Pryor (D) Successor elected November 23, 1880. James L. Pugh (D) November 24, 1880
Wisconsin (3) Matthew H. Carpenter (R) Died February 24, 1881. Vacant Not filled this term

House of Representatives[edit]

  • Replacements: 8
  • Deaths: 4
  • Resignations: 3
  • Contested election: 2
  • Total seats with changes: 11
District Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation[b]
Texas 6 Vacant Rep. Gustav Schleicher died during previous congress Christopher C. Upson (D) April 15, 1879
New York 12 Vacant Rep.-elect Alexander Smith died during previous congress Waldo Hutchins (D) November 4, 1879
Iowa 5 Rush Clark (R) Died April 29, 1879 William G. Thompson (R) October 14, 1879
Missouri 7 Alfred M. Lay (D) Died December 8, 1879 John F. Philips (D) January 10, 1880
New York 32 Ray V. Pierce (R) Resigned September 18, 1880 Jonathan Scoville (D) November 12, 1880
Alabama 6 Burwell B. Lewis (D) Resigned October 1, 1880, to accept presidency of the University of Alabama Newton N. Clements (D) December 8, 1880
Ohio 19 James A. Garfield (R) Resigned November 8, 1880 Ezra B. Taylor (R) December 13, 1880
New Hampshire 3 Evarts W. Farr (R) Died November 30, 1880.
Successor elected December 28, 1880.
Ossian Ray (R) January 8, 1881
Florida 2 Noble A. Hull (D) Lost contested election January 22, 1881 Horatio Bisbee Jr. (R) January 22, 1881
North Carolina 1 Joseph J. Martin (R) Lost contested election January 29, 1881 Jesse J. Yeates (D) January 29, 1881
New York 9 Fernando Wood (D) Died February 14, 1881 Vacant Not filled this term
Michigan 7 Omar D. Conger (R) Resigned March 3, 1881, after being elected to the US Senate Vacant Not filled this term


Lists of committees and their party leaders, for members (House and Senate) of the committees and their assignments, go into the Official Congressional Directory at the bottom of the article and click on the link (3 links), in the directory after the pages of terms of service, you will see the committees of the Senate, House (Standing with Subcommittees, Select and Special) and Joint and after the committee pages, you will see the House/Senate committee assignments in the directory, on the committees section of the House and Senate in the Official Congressional Directory, the committee's members on the first row on the left side shows the chairman of the committee and on the right side shows the ranking member of the committee.


House of Representatives[edit]

Joint committees[edit]



Legislative branch agency directors[edit]


House of Representatives[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Readjuster
  2. ^ a b When seated or oath administered, not necessarily when service began.


  • 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]