Alabama's 8th congressional district
|Alabama's 8th congressional district|
Alabama's 8th congressional district, now obsolete, was established in 1877.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Alabama was apportioned eight congressional seats as a result of the 1880 census. In 1893-1913 there were nine seats, and in 1913-1933 there were ten seats, the maximum ever for Alabama. In 1970, Alabama lost its eighth seat when population could no longer support more than seven seats.
The district was elected at-large from the entire state until the 45th Congress, when it was established as a separate district in the northwestern part of the state. The district occupies an area now held by Alabama's 5th congressional district, with the exception of a portion of Morgan County, which is part of the 4th district. Franklin County, which was part of the 8th district until after the 1890 Census, is also part of the modern 4th district.
Among the men who represented the District in the House was former Confederate Brigadier General Joseph Wheeler of Courtland, Alabama. Born in 1836 in Georgia, Wheeler had previously served in the United States Army but resigned to support the Confederate States of America. Wheeler led the 19th Alabama Infantry Regiment into battle at the Battle of Shiloh in the American Civil War. Wheeler was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1880 as a Democrat but was ousted after a lengthy election contest by Greenback Party candidate William M. Lowe. Lowe died after only four months in office and was succeeded by Wheeler in a special election. Wheeler did not run in 1882 but was reelected in 1884 and served seven consecutive terms before resigning in 1900.
John Sparkman served as the 8th district representative from 1937-1946. On the same day he was elected in 1946, Sparkman was also elected, in a special election, to fill the United States Senate seat of John H. Bankhead II who had died in office. Sparkman immediately resigned the House to accept the Senate seat. In 1952 Sparkman was chosen as the vice presidential running mate of the unsuccessful Democratic candidate Adlai Ewing Stevenson II. Sparkman previously had served as Majority Whip of the United States House of Representatives in 1946.
List of members representing the district
- Official Congressional Directory. 45th Congress, 2nd session. 3rd edition. Page 5 (1878)
- Population data from U.S. Census Bureau: Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990
- 1880 and 1870 Census data from U.S. Census Bureau: Compendium of the Tenth Census, Volume 1. (1883)
- Additional population data and counties from the Official Congressional Directories of the 45th Congress (1878); 48th Congress (1883); 53rd Congress (1893); 58th Congress (1903); 81st Congress (1950); 83rd Congress (1953); and 89th Congress (1965).
- 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.
- Congressional Biographical Directory of the United States 1774–present