List of Speakers of the United States House of Representatives

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The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives. The office was established in 1789 by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution. The Speaker is second in the presidential line of succession, after the Vice President and ahead of the President pro tempore of the Senate.

Unlike some Westminster system parliaments, in which the office of Speaker is considered non-partisan, in the United States, the Speaker of the House is a leadership position and the office-holder actively works to set the majority party's legislative agenda. The Speaker usually does not personally preside over debates, instead delegating the duty to members of the House from the majority party. The Speaker usually does not participate in debate and rarely votes. Aside from duties relating to heading the House and the majority political party, the Speaker also performs administrative and procedural functions, and represents his or her Congressional district.

In the modern era, the Speaker is elected at the beginning of the new Congress by a majority of the Representatives-elect from candidates separately chosen by the majority- and minority-party caucuses. In cases of an unexpected vacancy during a Congress a new Speaker is elected by a majority of the House from candidates previously chosen by the majority and minority parties.[1] While no rule exists, based on tradition and practice from the earliest days of the nation, to be elected speaker a candidate must receive an absolute majority of all votes cast for individuals, i.e. excluding those who abstain. If no candidate wins such a majority, then the roll call is repeated until a speaker is elected. There have been 14 instances of Speaker elections requiring multiple ballots.[1] The Speaker is traditionally the majority party's leader in the chamber, although unlike other House leadership, there is no constitutional requirement that the speaker be an elected member of the House (every speaker to date has been an elected member of the House).[2] The most recent election to occur mid-way through a Congress occurred on October 29, 2015, when the members elected Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to the office.

Since the office was created in 1789, 54 individuals, from 23 of the 50 states, have served as Speaker of the House. The number from each state are:

The longest serving speaker was Sam Rayburn, who served on three separate occasions between 1940 and 1961. Tip O'Neill had the longest uninterrupted tenure as speaker, serving January 4, 1977 – January 3, 1987. Theodore M. Pomeroy had the shortest tenure of any speaker, serving March 3–4, 1869. Six speakers—Henry Clay, Joseph W. Martin Jr., Frederick Muhlenberg, Sam Rayburn, Thomas Brackett Reed, and John W. Taylor—served non-consecutive terms of office. One speaker, James K. Polk, went on to become the 11th President of the United States. Two, Schuyler Colfax and John Nance Garner, later became vice president. The first (and to date only) woman to serve as speaker was Nancy Pelosi, from January 4, 2007 to January 4, 2011.

Speakers of the House of Representatives[edit]

The House has elected a new Speaker 124 times since 1789.[1] Of the 54 people who have served as Speaker over the past 229 years, 32 served multiple terms. In some instances, those terms were non-consecutive.

  Pro-Administration (2)[a]      Anti-Administration (1)[a]      Federalist (2)      Democratic-Republican (6)[b]
     Adams Republican (1)[b]      Jacksonian (3)[c]      Democratic (22)[c]      Whig (3)      American (1)      Republican (16)

Cong
ress
Speaker Party District[d] Term of service
1st Frederick Muhlenberg.jpg Frederick Muhlenberg   Pro-Administration Pennsylvania at-large April 1, 1789 –
March 4, 1791
2nd JonathanTrumbull.jpg Jonathan Trumbull Jr.   Pro-Administration Connecticut at-large October 24, 1791 –
March 4, 1793
3rd Frederick Muhlenberg.jpg Frederick Muhlenberg   Anti-Administration Pennsylvania at-large December 2, 1793[e]
March 4, 1795
4th JDayton.jpg Jonathan Dayton   Federalist New Jersey at-large December 7, 1795 –
March 4, 1797
5th May 15, 1797 –
March 4, 1799
6th TheodoreSedgwick.jpg Theodore Sedgwick   Federalist Massachusetts 1 December 2, 1799[f]
March 4, 1801
7th NC-Congress-NathanielMacon.jpg Nathaniel Macon   Democratic--
Republican
North Carolina 5 December 7, 1801 –
March 4, 1803
8th North Carolina 6 October 17, 1803 –
March 4, 1805
9th December 2, 1805[e]
March 4, 1807
10th JosephBradleyVarnum.jpg Joseph Bradley Varnum   Democratic--
Republican
Massachusetts 4 October 26, 1807 –
March 4, 1809
11th May 22, 1809[f]
March 4, 1811
12th Henry Clay.JPG Henry Clay   Democratic--
Republican
Kentucky 5 November 4, 1811 –
March 4, 1813
13th Kentucky 2 May 24, 1813 –
January 19, 1814
(Resigned)
LangdonCheves.jpg Langdon Cheves   Democratic--
Republican
South Carolina 1 January 19, 1814 –
March 4, 1815
14th Henry Clay.JPG Henry Clay   Democratic--
Republican
Kentucky 2 December 4, 1815 –
March 4, 1817
15th December 1, 1817 –
March 4, 1819
16th December 6, 1819 –
October 28, 1820
(Resigned)
SpeakerTaylor.png John W. Taylor   Democratic--
Republican
New York 11 November 15, 1820[g]
March 4, 1821
17th PPBarbour.jpg Philip Pendleton Barbour   Democratic--
Republican
Virginia 11 December 4, 1821[h]
March 4, 1823
18th Henry Clay.JPG Henry Clay   Democratic--
Republican
Kentucky 3 December 1, 1823 –
March 4, 1825
19th SpeakerTaylor.png John W. Taylor   Adams Republican New York 17 December 5, 1825[f]
March 4, 1827
20th SpeakerStevenson.png Andrew Stevenson Jacksonian Virginia 9 December 3, 1827 –
March 4, 1829
21st December 7, 1829 –
March 4, 1831
22nd December 5, 1831 –
March 4, 1833
23rd Virginia 11 December 2, 1833 –
June 2, 1834
(Resigned)
John Bell.jpg John Bell Jacksonian Tennessee 7 June 2, 1834[i]
March 4, 1835
24th James Knox Polk by GPA Healy, 1858.jpg James K. Polk Jacksonian Tennessee 9 December 7, 1835 –
March 4, 1837
25th Democratic September 4, 1837 –
March 4, 1839
26th RbrtMTHntr.jpg Robert M. T. Hunter Whig Virginia 9 December 16, 1839[j]
March 4, 1841
27th John White.jpg John White Whig Kentucky 9 May 31, 1841 –
March 4, 1843
28th JohnWinstonJones.jpg John Winston Jones Democratic Virginia 6 December 4, 1843 –
March 4, 1845
29th John Wesley Davis.jpg John Wesley Davis Democratic Indiana 6 December 1, 1845 –
March 4, 1847
30th RCWinthrop.jpg Robert Charles Winthrop Whig Massachusetts 1 December 6, 1847[e]
March 4, 1849
31st Cobb, Howell2.jpg Howell Cobb Democratic Georgia 6 December 22, 1849[k]
March 4, 1851
32nd LinnBoyd.jpg Linn Boyd Democratic Kentucky 1 December 1, 1851 –
March 4, 1853
33rd December 5, 1853 –
March 4, 1855
34th Nathaniel Prentice Banks.jpg Nathaniel P. Banks American Massachusetts 7 February 2, 1856[l]
March 4, 1857
35th James Lawrence Orr - Brady-Handy.jpg James Lawrence Orr Democratic South Carolina 5 December 7, 1857 –
March 4, 1859
36th William Pennington portrait.jpg William Pennington Republican New Jersey 5 February 1, 1860[m]
March 4, 1861
37th GalushaAaron.jpg Galusha A. Grow Republican Pennsylvania 14 July 4, 1861 –
March 4, 1863
38th Schuyler Colfax, photo portrait seated, c1855-1865.jpg Schuyler Colfax Republican Indiana 9 December 7, 1863 –
March 4, 1865
39th December 4, 1865 –
March 4, 1867
40th March 4, 1867 –
March 3, 1869
Theodore Medad Pomeroy - Brady-Handy.jpg Theodore M. Pomeroy Republican New York 24 March 3–4, 1869
41st James G. Blaine - Brady-Handy.jpg James G. Blaine Republican Maine 3 March 4, 1869 –
March 4, 1871
42nd March 4, 1871 –
March 4, 1873
43rd March 4, 1873 –
March 4, 1875
44th Michael C. Kerr - Brady-Handy.jpg Michael C. Kerr Democratic Indiana 3 December 6, 1875 –
August 19, 1876
(Died)
Samuel J. Randall - Brady-Handy.jpg Samuel J. Randall Democratic Pennsylvania 3 December 4, 1876 –
March 4, 1877
45th October 15, 1877 –
March 4, 1879
46th March 18, 1879 –
March 4, 1881
47th J. Warren Keifer - Brady-Handy.jpg J. Warren Keifer Republican Ohio 8 December 5, 1881 –
March 4, 1883
48th John Griffin Carlisle, Brady-Handy photo portrait, ca1870-1880.jpg John G. Carlisle Democratic Kentucky 6 December 3, 1883 –
March 4, 1885
49th December 7, 1885 –
March 4, 1887
50th December 5, 1887 –
March 4, 1889
51st Thomas Brackett Reed by John Singer Sargent.jpg Thomas Brackett Reed Republican Maine 1 December 2, 1889 –
March 4, 1891
(Lost majority)
52nd CharlesFrederickCrisp.jpg Charles Frederick Crisp Democratic Georgia 3 December 8, 1891 –
March 4, 1893
53rd August 7, 1893 –
March 4, 1895
(Lost majority)
54th Thomas Brackett Reed by John Singer Sargent.jpg Thomas Brackett Reed Republican Maine 1 December 2, 1895 –
March 4, 1897
55th March 15, 1897 –
March 4, 1899
(Retired from Speakership)
56th DavidBremmerHenderson.jpg David B. Henderson Republican Iowa 3 December 4, 1899 –
March 4, 1901
57th December 2, 1901 –
March 4, 1903
(Retired)
58th SpeakerCannon.png Joseph Gurney Cannon Republican Illinois 18 November 9, 1903 –
March 4, 1905
59th December 4, 1905 –
March 4, 1907
60th December 2, 1907 –
March 4, 1909
61st March 15, 1909 –
March 4, 1911
(Lost majority)
62nd James Beauchamp Clark.jpg Champ Clark Democratic Missouri 9 April 4, 1911 –
March 4, 1913
63rd April 7, 1913 –
March 4, 1915
64th December 6, 1915 –
March 4, 1917
65th April 2, 1917 –
March 4, 1919
(Lost majority)
66th Frederick Gillett.jpg Frederick H. Gillett Republican Massachusetts 2 May 19, 1919 –
March 4, 1921
67th April 11, 1921 –
March 4, 1923
68th December 3, 1923[n]
March 4, 1925
(Retired to run for U.S. Senator)
69th Nick Longworth Portrait.JPG Nicholas Longworth Republican Ohio 1 December 7, 1925 –
March 4, 1927
70th December 5, 1927 –
March 4, 1929
71st April 15, 1929 –
March 4, 1931
(Lost majority)
72nd John n garner.jpg John Nance Garner Democratic Texas 15 December 7, 1931 –
March 4, 1933
(Retired to become U.S. Vice President)
73rd SpeakerRainey.png Henry Thomas Rainey Democratic Illinois 20 March 9, 1933 –
August 19, 1934
(Died)
74th Joseph Byrns.jpg Joseph W. Byrns Sr. Democratic Tennessee 5 January 3, 1935 –
June 4, 1936
(Died)
SpeakerBankhead.png William B. Bankhead Democratic Alabama 7 June 4, 1936 –
January 3, 1937
75th January 5, 1937 –
January 3, 1939
76th January 3, 1939 –
September 15, 1940
(Died)
Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn.jpg Sam Rayburn Democratic Texas 4 September 16, 1940 –
January 3, 1941
77th January 3, 1941 –
January 3, 1943
78th January 6, 1943 –
January 3, 1945
79th January 3, 1945 –
January 3, 1947
(Lost majority)
80th SPEAKER JWMartin.jpg Joseph W. Martin Jr. Republican Massachusetts 14 January 3, 1947 –
January 3, 1949
(Lost majority)
81st Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn.jpg Sam Rayburn Democratic Texas 4 January 3, 1949 –
January 3, 1951
82nd January 3, 1951 –
January 3, 1953
(Lost majority)
83rd SPEAKER JWMartin.jpg Joseph W. Martin Jr. Republican Massachusetts 14 January 3, 1953 –
January 3, 1955
(Lost majority)
84th Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn.jpg Sam Rayburn Democratic Texas 4 January 3, 1955 –
January 3, 1957
85th January 3, 1957 –
January 3, 1959
86th January 7, 1959 –
January 3, 1961
87th January 3, 1961 –
November 16, 1961
(Died)
Speaker John McCormack.jpg John W. McCormack Democratic Massachusetts 12 January 10, 1962 –
January 3, 1963
88th Massachusetts 9 January 9, 1963 –
January 3, 1965
89th January 4, 1965 –
January 3, 1967
90th January 10, 1967 –
January 3, 1969
91st January 3, 1969 –
January 3, 1971
(Retired)
92nd Speaker Albert - portrait.jpg Carl Albert Democratic Oklahoma 3 January 21, 1971 –
January 3, 1973
93rd January 3, 1973 –
January 3, 1975
94th January 14, 1975 –
January 3, 1977
(Retired)
95th SpeakerO'Neill.jpg Tip O'Neill Democratic Massachusetts 8 January 4, 1977 –
January 3, 1979
96th January 15, 1979 –
January 3, 1981
97th January 5, 1981 –
January 3, 1983
98th January 3, 1983 –
January 3, 1985
99th January 3, 1985 –
January 3, 1987
(Retired)
100th SpeakerWright.jpg Jim Wright Democratic Texas 12 January 6, 1987 –
January 3, 1989
101st January 3, 1989 –
June 6, 1989
(Resigned)
SpeakerFoley.jpg Tom Foley Democratic Washington 5 June 6, 1989 –
January 3, 1991
102nd January 3, 1991 –
January 3, 1993
103rd January 5, 1993 –
January 3, 1995
(Lost seat and majority)
104th SpeakerGingrich.jpg Newt Gingrich Republican Georgia 6 January 4, 1995 –
January 3, 1997
105th January 7, 1997 –
January 3, 1999
(Resigned)
106th SpeakerHastert.jpg Dennis Hastert Republican Illinois 14 January 6, 1999 –
January 3, 2001
107th January 3, 2001 –
January 3, 2003
108th January 7, 2003 –
January 3, 2005
109th January 3, 2005 –
January 3, 2007
(Lost majority)
110th Speaker Nancy Pelosi.jpg Nancy Pelosi Democratic California 8 January 4, 2007 –
January 3, 2009
111th January 6, 2009 –
January 3, 2011
(Lost majority)
112th Speaker Boehner.tif John Boehner Republican Ohio 8 January 5, 2011 –
January 3, 2013
113th January 3, 2013 –
January 3, 2015
114th January 6, 2015 –
October 29, 2015
(Resigned)
Speaker Paul Ryan official photo (cropped).jpg Paul Ryan Republican Wisconsin 1 October 29, 2015 –
January 3, 2017
115th January 3, 2017 –
Present
(Incumbent)

Table notes:

  1. ^ a b Frederick Muhlenberg served as speaker twice in the 1790s, before political factions coalesced into formal parties; initially he identified with the pro–administration faction, but later he aligned himself with the anti–administration faction.
  2. ^ a b John Taylor served as speaker twice in the 1820s; initially he was as a member of the Democratic–Republican Party, and later, when the party began to fracture, he sided with its pro–Adams faction.
  3. ^ a b During James K. Polk's tenure as speaker the Jacksonian bloc amalgamated into the modern Democratic Party.
  4. ^ The district listed is the district the speaker represented at the time they were in office, which may be different in different Congresses due to redistricting.
  5. ^ a b c Elected on 3rd ballot
  6. ^ a b c Elected on 2nd ballot
  7. ^ Elected on 22nd ballot
  8. ^ Elected on 12th ballot
  9. ^ Elected on 10th ballot
  10. ^ Elected on 11th ballot
  11. ^ Elected on 63rd ballot
  12. ^ Elected on 133rd ballot
  13. ^ Elected on 44th ballot
  14. ^ Elected on 9th ballot

Living former Speakers[edit]

Currently there are four living former speakers: Newt Gingrich (1995–1999), Dennis Hastert (1999–2007), Nancy Pelosi (2007–2011; still a member of Congress), and John Boehner (2011–2015). The most recent death of a former speaker was that of Jim Wright (1987–1989) on May 6, 2015. The most recently serving former speaker to die was Tom Foley (1989–1995) on October 18, 2013.

Speakers by time in office[edit]

The length of time given below is based on the difference between dates; if counted by number of calendar days all the figures would be one greater. Also, as many speakers were elected multiple times, and to terms that were, in several instances, not consecutive, the length of time given for each speaker measures their cumulative length of incumbency as speaker. Further, time after adjournment of one Congress but before the convening of the next Congress is not counted. For example, Nathaniel Macon was Speaker in both the 8th and 9th Congresses, but the eight-month gap between the two Congresses is not counted toward his service. The exact dates of service for each individual speaker is shown in the Term of service column of the above table.

Official seal of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Sam Rayburn, longest serving speaker of the House,
17 years, 53 days (cumulative)
Tip O'Neill, longest uninterrupted tenure of office,
9 years, 350 days
Theodore M. Pomeroy, shortest tenure of office, 1 day
Rank Speaker Time in office TE OS
1 Sam Rayburn 17 years, 53 days 10 43
2 Henry Clay 10 years, 196 days 6 7
3 Tip O'Neill 9 years, 350 days 5 47
4 John W. McCormack 8 years, 344 days 5 45
5 Dennis Hastert 7 years, 359 days 4 51
6 Champ Clark 6 years, 357 days 4 36
7 Carl Albert 5 years, 337 days 3 46
8 Joseph Gurney Cannon 5 years, 285 days 4 35
9 Tom Foley 5 years, 209 days 3 49
10 James G. Blaine 5 years, 93 days 3 27
11 Frederick H. Gillett 4 years, 341 days 3 37
12 John Boehner 4 years, 297 days 3 53
13 Schuyler Colfax 4 years, 176 days 3 25
14 Thomas Brackett Reed 4 years, 172 days 3 32
15 Nicholas Longworth 4 years, 133 days 3 38
16 William B. Bankhead 4 years, 102 days 3 42
17 Andrew Stevenson 4 years, 83 days 4 11
18 Nancy Pelosi 4 years, 1 day 2 52
19 Joseph W. Martin Jr. 4 years 2 44
20 Newt Gingrich 3 years, 361 days 2 50
21 Nathaniel Macon 3 years, 317 days 3 5
22 John G. Carlisle 3 years, 267 days 3 31
23 Samuel J. Randall 3 years, 215 days 3 29
24 Frederick Muhlenberg 3 years, 64 days 2 1
25 Joseph Bradley Varnum 3 years, 49 days 2 6
26 Jonathan Dayton 3 years, 14 days 2 3
27 Charles Frederick Crisp 2 years, 295 days 2 33
28 James K. Polk 2 years, 268 days 2 13
29 Paul Ryan 2 years, 257 days 2 54
30
(tie)
Linn Boyd 2 years, 182 days 2 20
David B. Henderson 2 years, 182 days 2 34
32 Jim Wright 2 years, 151 days 2 48
33 John White 1 year, 277 days 1 15
34 Galusha A. Grow 1 year, 243 days 1 24
35 John W. Taylor 1 year, 198 days 2 9
36 Henry Thomas Rainey 1 year, 163 days 1 40
37 Joseph W. Byrns Sr. 1 year, 153 days 1 41
38 Jonathan Trumbull Jr. 1 year, 131 days 1 2
39 John Wesley Davis 1 year, 93 days 1 17
40 Theodore Sedgwick 1 year, 92 days 1 4
41
(tie)
Philip Pendleton Barbour 1 year, 90 days 1 10
John Winston Jones 1 year, 90 days 1 16
43 J. Warren Keifer 1 year, 89 days 1 30
44 Robert Charles Winthrop 1 year, 88 days 1 18
45
(tie)
James Lawrence Orr 1 year, 87 days 1 22
John Nance Garner 1 year, 87 days 1 39
47 Robert M. T. Hunter 1 year, 78 days 1 14
48 Howell Cobb 1 year, 72 days 1 19
49 Langdon Cheves 1 year, 44 days 1 8
50 William Pennington 1 year, 31 days 1 23
51 Nathaniel P. Banks 1 year, 30 days 1 21
52 John Bell 275 days 1 12
53 Michael C. Kerr 257 days 1 28
54 Theodore M. Pomeroy 1 day 1 26

See also[edit]

  • Speaker (politics), for a general description of the title and a list of current national legislature speakers worldwide

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Speaker Elections Decided by Multiple Ballots". history.house.gov. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved September 28, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives". Clerk.house.gov. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States House of Representatives document "List of Speakers of the House".

External links[edit]