List of speakers of the United States House of Representatives

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The speaker of the United States House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives. The office was established in 1789 by Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. The speaker is the political and parliamentary leader of the House, and is simultaneously the body's presiding officer, the de facto leader of the body's majority party, and the institution's administrative head.[1] Speakers also perform various administrative and procedural functions, all in addition to representing their own congressional district. Given these several roles and responsibilities, the speaker usually does not personally preside over debates. That duty is instead delegated to members of the House from the majority party. Neither does the speaker regularly participate in floor debates. Additionally, the speaker is second in the presidential line of succession, after the vice president and ahead of the president pro tempore of the Senate.[2]

The House elects a new speaker by roll call vote when it first convenes after a general election for its two-year term, or when a speaker dies, resigns or is removed from the position intra-term. A majority of votes cast (as opposed to a majority of the full membership of the House) is necessary to elect a speaker.[1] If no candidate receives a majority vote, then the roll call is repeated until a speaker is elected.[3] The Constitution does not require the speaker to be an incumbent member of the House, although every speaker thus far has been.[4]

The current speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California, was elected to a fourth (second consecutive) term in office on January 3, 2021, the first day of the 117th Congress. She is the only woman to have served as speaker. Altogether, 54 individuals, from 23 of the 50 states, have served as speaker of the House. The number from each state are:

One speaker, James K. Polk, subsequently served as President of the United States, the only one to serve in both offices, and two speakers, Schuyler Colfax and John Nance Garner, later became Vice president. The longest serving speaker was Sam Rayburn – 17 years, 53 days. Elected 10 times, he led the House three times: from September 1940 to January 1947; January 1949 to January 1953; and January 1955 to November 1961. Tip O'Neill had the longest uninterrupted tenure as speaker – 9 years, 350 days. Elected five times, he led the House from January 1977 to January 1987. Theodore M. Pomeroy had the shortest tenure; elected speaker on March 3, 1869, he served one day.

List of speakers[edit]

The House has elected a speaker 126 times since 1789:[3] at the start of each of the 117 congresses, plus on 10 occasions when a vacancy arose during a Congress via death or resignation. Of the 54 people who have served as speaker of the House over the past 233 years, 32 served multiple terms, and seven of them served nonconsecutive terms: Frederick Muhlenberg, Henry Clay, John W. Taylor, Thomas Brackett Reed, Joseph W. Martin Jr., Sam Rayburn, and Nancy Pelosi. Altogether, there have been 63 occasions on which a new speaker took office. Every speaker of the House has been a member of a political party or faction; the number affiliated with each is:

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

As of July 2022, there are four living former speakers of the House: Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, and Paul Ryan. Nancy Pelosi was also among this group, prior to reassuming the office in January 2019.

List of speakers of the United States House of Representatives
Congress Term Portrait Name Party District[d]
1st April 1, 1789

March 4, 1791
Frederick Muhlenberg.jpg Frederick Muhlenberg Pro-Administration Pennsylvania at-large
2nd October 24, 1791

March 4, 1793
JonathanTrumbull.jpg Jonathan Trumbull Jr. Pro-Administration Connecticut at-large
3rd December 2, 1793[e]

March 4, 1795
Frederick Muhlenberg.jpg Frederick Muhlenberg Anti-Administration Pennsylvania at-large
4th December 7, 1795

March 4, 1797
JDayton.jpg Jonathan Dayton Federalist New Jersey at-large

5th

May 15, 1797

March 4, 1799
6th December 2, 1799[e]

March 4, 1801
TheodoreSedgwick.jpg Theodore Sedgwick Federalist Massachusetts 1
7th December 7, 1801

March 4, 1803
NC-Congress-NathanielMacon.jpg Nathaniel Macon Democratic-
Republican
North Carolina 5
8th October 17, 1803

March 4, 1805
North Carolina 6
9th December 2, 1805[e]

March 4, 1807
10th October 26, 1807

March 4, 1809
JosephBradleyVarnum.jpg Joseph Bradley Varnum Democratic-
Republican
Massachusetts 4
11th May 22, 1809[e]

March 4, 1811
12th November 4, 1811

March 4, 1813
Henry Clay.JPG Henry Clay Democratic-
Republican
Kentucky 5
13th May 24, 1813

January 19, 1814[f]
Kentucky 2
13th[g] January 19, 1814

March 4, 1815
LangdonCheves.jpg Langdon Cheves Democratic-
Republican
South Carolina 1
14th December 4, 1815

March 4, 1817
Henry Clay.JPG Henry Clay Democratic-
Republican
Kentucky 2
15th December 1, 1817

March 4, 1819
16th December 6, 1819

October 28, 1820[f]
16th[g] November 15, 1820[e]

March 4, 1821
SpeakerTaylor.png John W. Taylor Democratic-
Republican
New York 11
17th December 4, 1821[e]

March 4, 1823
PPBarbour.jpg Philip P. Barbour Democratic-
Republican
Virginia 11
18th December 1, 1823

March 6, 1825[f]
Henry Clay.JPG Henry Clay Democratic-
Republican
Kentucky 3
19th December 5, 1825[e]

March 4, 1827
SpeakerTaylor.png John W. Taylor Adams Republican New York 17
20th December 3, 1827

March 4, 1829
SpeakerStevenson.png Andrew Stevenson Jacksonian Virginia 9
21st December 7, 1829

March 4, 1831
22nd December 5, 1831

March 4, 1833
23rd December 2, 1833

June 2, 1834[f]
Virginia 11
23rd[g] June 2, 1834[e]

March 4, 1835
John Bell.jpg John Bell Jacksonian Tennessee 7
24th December 7, 1835

March 4, 1837
James Knox Polk by GPA Healy, 1858.jpg James K. Polk Jacksonian Tennessee 9
25th September 4, 1837

March 4, 1839
Democratic
26th December 16, 1839[e]

March 4, 1841
RbrtMTHntr.jpg Robert M. T. Hunter Whig Virginia 9
27th May 31, 1841

March 4, 1843
John White.jpg John White Whig Kentucky 9
28th December 4, 1843

March 4, 1845
JohnWinstonJones.jpg John Winston Jones Democratic Virginia 6
29th December 1, 1845

March 4, 1847
John Wesley Davis.jpg John Wesley Davis Democratic Indiana 6
30th December 6, 1847[e]

March 4, 1849
RCWinthrop.jpg Robert Charles Winthrop Whig Massachusetts 1
31st December 22, 1849[e]

March 4, 1851
Cobb, Howell2.jpg Howell Cobb Democratic Georgia 6
32nd December 1, 1851

March 4, 1853
LinnBoyd.jpg Linn Boyd Democratic Kentucky 1
33rd December 5, 1853

March 4, 1855
34th February 2, 1856[e]

March 4, 1857
Nathaniel Prentice Banks.jpg Nathaniel P. Banks American Massachusetts 7
35th December 7, 1857

March 4, 1859
James Lawrence Orr - Brady-Handy.jpg James Lawrence Orr Democratic South Carolina 5
36th February 1, 1860[e]

March 4, 1861
William Pennington portrait.jpg William Pennington Republican New Jersey 5
37th July 4, 1861

March 4, 1863
Galusha A. Grow restored.jpg Galusha A. Grow Republican Pennsylvania 14
38th December 7, 1863

March 4, 1865
Schuyler Colfax, photo portrait seated, c1855-1865.jpg Schuyler Colfax Republican Indiana 9
39th December 4, 1865

March 4, 1867
40th March 4, 1867

March 3, 1869[f]
40th[g] March 3–4, 1869 Theodore Medad Pomeroy - Brady-Handy.jpg Theodore M. Pomeroy Republican New York 24
41st March 4, 1869

March 4, 1871
James G. Blaine - Brady-Handy.jpg James G. Blaine Republican Maine 3
42nd March 4, 1871

March 4, 1873
43rd March 4, 1873

March 4, 1875
44th December 6, 1875

August 19, 1876[h]
Michael C. Kerr - Brady-Handy.jpg Michael C. Kerr Democratic Indiana 3
44th[g] December 4, 1876

March 4, 1877
Samuel J. Randall - Brady-Handy.jpg Samuel J. Randall Democratic Pennsylvania 3
45th October 15, 1877

March 4, 1879
46th March 18, 1879

March 4, 1881
47th December 5, 1881

March 4, 1883
J. Warren Keifer - Brady-Handy.jpg J. Warren Keifer Republican Ohio 8
48th December 3, 1883

March 4, 1885
John Griffin Carlisle, Brady-Handy photo portrait, ca1870-1880.jpg John G. Carlisle Democratic Kentucky 6
49th December 7, 1885

March 4, 1887
50th December 5, 1887

March 4, 1889
51st December 2, 1889

March 4, 1891
Thomas Brackett Reed by John Singer Sargent.jpg Thomas Brackett Reed Republican Maine 1
52nd December 8, 1891

March 4, 1893
CharlesFrederickCrisp.jpg Charles Frederick Crisp Democratic Georgia 3
53rd August 7, 1893

March 4, 1895
54th December 2, 1895

March 4, 1897
Thomas Brackett Reed by John Singer Sargent.jpg Thomas Brackett Reed Republican Maine 1
55th March 15, 1897

March 4, 1899
56th December 4, 1899

March 4, 1901
DavidBremmerHenderson.jpg David B. Henderson Republican Iowa 3
57th December 2, 1901

March 4, 1903
58th November 9, 1903

March 4, 1905
SpeakerCannon.png Joseph Gurney Cannon Republican Illinois 18
59th December 4, 1905

March 4, 1907
60th December 2, 1907

March 4, 1909
61st March 15, 1909

March 4, 1911
62nd April 4, 1911

March 4, 1913
James Beauchamp Clark.jpg Champ Clark Democratic Missouri 9
63rd April 7, 1913

March 4, 1915
64th December 6, 1915

March 4, 1917
65th April 2, 1917

March 4, 1919
66th May 19, 1919

March 4, 1921
Frederick Gillett.jpg Frederick H. Gillett Republican Massachusetts 2
67th April 11, 1921

March 4, 1923
68th December 5, 1923[e]

March 4, 1925
69th December 7, 1925

March 4, 1927
Nick Longworth Portrait.JPG Nicholas Longworth Republican Ohio 1
70th December 5, 1927

March 4, 1929
71st April 15, 1929

March 4, 1931
72nd December 7, 1931

March 4, 1933
John n garner.jpg John Nance Garner Democratic Texas 15
73rd March 9, 1933

August 19, 1934[h]
SpeakerRainey.png Henry Thomas Rainey Democratic Illinois 20
74th January 3, 1935

June 4, 1936[h]
Joseph Byrns.jpg Jo Byrns Democratic Tennessee 5
74th[g] June 4, 1936

January 3, 1937
SpeakerBankhead.png William B. Bankhead Democratic Alabama 7
75th January 5, 1937

January 3, 1939
76th January 3, 1939

September 15, 1940[h]
76th[g] September 16, 1940

January 3, 1941
Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn.jpg Sam Rayburn Democratic Texas 4
77th January 3, 1941

January 3, 1943
78th January 6, 1943

January 3, 1945
79th January 3, 1945

January 3, 1947
80th January 3, 1947

January 3, 1949
SPEAKER JWMartin.jpg Joseph W. Martin Jr. Republican Massachusetts 14
81st January 3, 1949

January 3, 1951
Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn.jpg Sam Rayburn Democratic Texas 4
82nd January 3, 1951

January 3, 1953
83rd January 3, 1953

January 3, 1955
SPEAKER JWMartin.jpg Joseph W. Martin Jr. Republican Massachusetts 14
84th January 3, 1955

January 3, 1957
Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn.jpg Sam Rayburn Democratic Texas 4
85th January 3, 1957

January 3, 1959
86th January 7, 1959

January 3, 1961
87th January 3, 1961

November 16, 1961[h]
87th[g] January 10, 1962

January 3, 1963
Speaker John McCormack.jpg John W. McCormack Democratic Massachusetts 12
88th January 9, 1963

January 3, 1965
Massachusetts 9
89th January 4, 1965

January 3, 1967
90th January 10, 1967

January 3, 1969
91st January 3, 1969

January 3, 1971
92nd January 21, 1971

January 3, 1973
Speaker Albert - portrait.jpg Carl Albert Democratic Oklahoma 3
93rd January 3, 1973

January 3, 1975
94th January 14, 1975

January 3, 1977
95th January 4, 1977

January 3, 1979
SpeakerO'Neill.jpg Tip O'Neill Democratic Massachusetts 8
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
100th January 6, 1987

January 3, 1989
SpeakerWright.jpg Jim Wright Democratic Texas 12
101st January 3, 1989

June 6, 1989[f]
101st[g] June 6, 1989

January 3, 1991
SpeakerFoley.jpg Tom Foley Democratic Washington 5
102nd January 3, 1991

January 3, 1993
103rd January 5, 1993

January 3, 1995
104th January 4, 1995

January 3, 1997
SpeakerGingrich.jpg Newt Gingrich Republican Georgia 6
105th January 7, 1997

January 3, 1999[f]
106th January 6, 1999

January 3, 2001
SpeakerHastert.jpg Dennis Hastert Republican Illinois 14
107th January 3, 2001

January 3, 2003
108th January 7, 2003

January 3, 2005
109th January 3, 2005

January 3, 2007
110th January 4, 2007

January 3, 2009
Nancy Pelosi, official photo portrait, 111th Congress.jpg Nancy Pelosi Democratic California 8
111th January 6, 2009

January 3, 2011
112th January 5, 2011

January 3, 2013
John Boehner portrait John Boehner Republican Ohio 8
113th January 3, 2013

January 3, 2015
114th January 6, 2015

October 29, 2015[f]
114th[g] October 29, 2015

January 3, 2017
Paul-Ryan-2018-Portrait Paul Ryan Republican Wisconsin 1
115th January 3, 2017

January 3, 2019
116th January 3, 2019

January 3, 2021
Official photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2019.jpg Nancy Pelosi Democratic California 12
117th January 3, 2021

present
References:[5][6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b During James K. Polk's tenure as speaker the Jacksonian bloc amalgamated into the modern Democratic Party.
  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 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.
  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 d e f g h i j k l m n Multi-ballot election.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Resigned from office and from Congress.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Intra-term special election.
  8. ^ a b c d e Died in office.

Timeline[edit]

Paul RyanJohn BoehnerNancy PelosiDennis HastertNewt GingrichTom FoleyJim WrightTip O'NeillCarl AlbertJohn W. McCormackJoseph W. Martin Jr.Sam RayburnWilliam B. BankheadJo ByrnsHenry Thomas RaineyJohn Nance GarnerNicholas LongworthFrederick H. GillettChamp ClarkJoseph Gurney CannonDavid B. HendersonCharles Frederick CrispThomas Brackett ReedJohn G. CarlisleJ. Warren KeiferSamuel J. RandallMichael C. KerrJames G. BlaineTheodore M. PomeroySchuyler ColfaxGalusha A. GrowWilliam PenningtonJames Lawrence OrrNathaniel P. BanksLinn BoydHowell CobbRobert Charles WinthropJohn Wesley DavisJohn Winston JonesJohn White (Kentucky politician)Robert M. T. HunterJames K. PolkJohn Bell (Tennessee politician)Andrew StevensonPhilip Pendleton BarbourJohn W. Taylor (politician)Langdon ChevesHenry ClayJoseph Bradley VarnumNathaniel MaconTheodore SedgwickJonathan DaytonJonathan Trumbull Jr.Frederick Muhlenberg

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 Name Time in office TE Year(s) in which elected
1 Sam Rayburn 17 years, 53 days 10 1940; 1941; 1943; 1945; 1949; 1951; 1955; 1957; 1959; 1961
2 Henry Clay 10 years, 196 days 6 1811; 1813; 1815; 1817; 1819; 1823
3 Tip O'Neill 9 years, 350 days 5 1977; 1979; 1981; 1983; 1985
4 John W. McCormack 8 years, 344 days 5 1962; 1963; 1965; 1967; 1969
5 Dennis Hastert 7 years, 359 days 4 1999; 2001; 2003; 2005
6 Nancy Pelosi 7 years, 182 days 4 2007; 2009; 2019; 2021
7 Champ Clark 6 years, 357 days 4 1911; 1913; 1915; 1917
8 Carl Albert 5 years, 337 days 3 1971; 1973; 1975
9 Joseph Gurney Cannon 5 years, 285 days 4 1903; 1905; 1907; 1909
10 Tom Foley 5 years, 209 days 3 1989; 1991; 1993
11 James G. Blaine 5 years, 93 days 3 1869; 1871; 1873
12 Frederick H. Gillett 4 years, 341 days 3 1919; 1921; 1923
13 John Boehner 4 years, 297 days 3 2011; 2013; 2015
14 Schuyler Colfax 4 years, 176 days 3 1863; 1865; 1867
15 Thomas Brackett Reed 4 years, 172 days 3 1889; 1895; 1897
16 Nicholas Longworth 4 years, 133 days 3 1925; 1927; 1929
17 William B. Bankhead 4 years, 102 days 3 1936; 1937; 1939
18 Andrew Stevenson 4 years, 83 days 4 1827; 1829; 1831; 1833
19 Joseph W. Martin Jr. 4 years 2 1947; 1953
20 Newt Gingrich 3 years, 361 days 2 1995; 1997
21 Nathaniel Macon 3 years, 317 days 3 1801; 1803; 1805
22 John G. Carlisle 3 years, 267 days 3 1883; 1885; 1887
23 Samuel J. Randall 3 years, 215 days 3 1876; 1877; 1879
24 Paul Ryan 3 years, 66 days 2 2015; 2017
25 Frederick Muhlenberg 3 years, 64 days 2 1789; 1793
26 Joseph Bradley Varnum 3 years, 49 days 2 1807; 1809
27 Jonathan Dayton 3 years, 14 days 2 1795; 1797
28 Charles Frederick Crisp 2 years, 295 days 2 1891; 1893
29 James K. Polk 2 years, 268 days 2 1835; 1837
30
(tie)
Linn Boyd 2 years, 182 days 2 1851; 1853
David B. Henderson 2 years, 182 days 2 1899; 1901
32 Jim Wright 2 years, 151 days 2 1987; 1989
33 John White 1 year, 277 days 1 1841
34 Galusha A. Grow 1 year, 243 days 1 1861
35 John W. Taylor 1 year, 198 days 2 1820; 1825
36 Henry Thomas Rainey 1 year, 163 days 1 1933
37 Joseph W. Byrns Sr. 1 year, 153 days 1 1935
38 Jonathan Trumbull Jr. 1 year, 131 days 1 1791
39 John Wesley Davis 1 year, 93 days 1 1845
40 Theodore Sedgwick 1 year, 92 days 1 1799
41
(tie)
Philip P. Barbour 1 year, 90 days 1 1821
John Winston Jones 1 year, 90 days 1 1843
43 J. Warren Keifer 1 year, 89 days 1 1881
44 Robert Charles Winthrop 1 year, 88 days 1 1847
45
(tie)
James Lawrence Orr 1 year, 87 days 1 1857
John Nance Garner 1 year, 87 days 1 1931
47 Robert M. T. Hunter 1 year, 78 days 1 1839
48 Howell Cobb 1 year, 72 days 1 1849
49 Langdon Cheves 1 year, 44 days 1 1814
50 William Pennington 1 year, 31 days 1 1860
51 Nathaniel P. Banks 1 year, 30 days 1 1856
52 John Bell 275 days 1 1834
53 Michael C. Kerr 257 days 1 1875
54 Theodore M. Pomeroy 1 day 1 1869

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Forte, David F. "Essays on Article I: Speaker of the House". Heritage Guide to The Constitution. Heritage Foundation. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  2. ^ Relyea, Harold C. (August 5, 2005). "Continuity of Government: Current Federal Arrangements and the Future" (PDF). CRS Report for Congress. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress. pp. 2–4. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Speaker Elections Decided by Multiple Ballots". history.house.gov. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  4. ^ Heitshusen, Valerie; Beth, Richard S. (January 4, 2019). "Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913–2019" (PDF). RL30857. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  5. ^ "List of Speakers of the House". Washington, D.C.: Office of the Historian, United States House of Representatives. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  6. ^ Speakers of the House of Representatives, 1789-2021. Amenia, New York: Grey House Publishing. 2021. ISBN 978-1-64265-834-7.

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the U.S. federal government.

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External links[edit]