Talk:Tennessee's at-large congressional district

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state-wide 'At-Large' versus 'General Ticket' state-wide[edit]

Martis distinguishes four kinds of election methods in the states (Introduction Section 2, p.6-7 and Section p.59)

(1) Single Member Districts are denoted with a number in their geographic outline, such as 1, 2, 3. (2) Plural Congressional Districts are artificially divided into subsections geographically, and labeled such as 6a, 6b, 6c. (3) General Ticket Districts are state-wide slates of a single party tickets. Representative districts are labeled ‘GT’, state maps show diagonals with A, B, C etc as a place-holder on the map for each seat. The largest number of votes for a party seats the entire ticket. (4) At-Large Districts are state-wide elections of individual candidates, labeled ‘AL’ within the state boundaries. If there are three seats to fill, the three candidates with the most votes state-wide are elected. He notes that General Ticket districts had the political effect to “ensure election of an entire state delegation by one dominant party”. At-Large districts were mostly used in the Congress following reapportionment, where they might give advantage to a dominant party, or not disrupt incumbents by mutual agreement.

Tennessee had three General Ticket districts in the 8th Congress, 1803-1805, as did NH, CT, RI, NJ and GA. There were six TN representatives in the apportionment for the 13th Congress, 1813-1815, all Single Member Districts; although there is still territory in grey, which I know to be Cherokee lands in the southeast along the Georgia border, but I do not know of the others. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 04:04, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

  • So, therefore, there were only at-large seats from 1796 to 1813? That is, in 1813, the single-member districts began. Right?—Markles 10:44, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I take it from reading between the lines in Martis' classification, that the distinction in state-wide races with one member to be elected, between "General Ticket" districts and "At-Large" districts depends on the wording of the state statute. If the voter chooses an entire slate, whether that is (a) President, Senator (if any) and Representative, or (b) only all multi-seat district Representatives at once, this sort of legislated straight-ticket voting is seen as "General Ticket".
If the convention in Tennessee scholarship is to call the one-representative elected an "At-Large" seat at the turn of the 19th Century, we should reference someone other than Martis, because he does not place either the AL or the GT label by each representative. He uses the number "1" by each Tennessee name from 1796 to 1803. Then for one Congress, 1803-1805, GT by all three names. Then, district numbers by all until the one instance of an At-Large (AL) member in 1873-1875. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 19:42, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Also, we have to line up the table to get Andrew Jackson as the first elected representative ... looks like a simple alignment typo ... TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 19:42, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
yes, I'd like to have a go at it. You may remember Davy Crocket is important in American literature for his place in autobiography genre. He stood up for the property rights of his Native-American neighbor and got destroyed politically by the Jackson machine in Tennessee. It was they who mis-led him on the timing of an important vote to the folks back home, paid his way to New York to talk to a publisher, and then claimed he got a big head so he wasn't fit to be their representative ... that was the genesis of the famous, quote, "You can go to h---, I'm going to Texas". Lots of good background in 'Three Roads to the Alamo' ... Working on this would be fun. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 19:42, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Horace Maynard[edit]

The 43rd Congress saw an additional Representative added to Tennessee's delegation. The a tenth Member 'At-Large' had no district, but was chosen state-wide by the largest vote for the At-Large seat, a separate choice on the ballot, along with President.

Horace Maynard, nearing retirement, had let another Republican win his old 2nd District seat. Then Maynard, the Union Republican, won the At-Large seat statewide. That boosted the Republican total in the Tennessee delegation to 7 of the 10 for the beginning of Grant's second term.

The troubles in Reconstruction, particularly in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, caused large defections from Grant's party in the midterms nationally. In Tennessee, the delegation to the 44th Congress arrived with nine Democrats and one Republican. The only Republican was Jacob Thornburgh, re-elected in the Second District of Tennessee. The following Congress, Thornburgh was re-elected again.TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 04:28, 4 October 2010 (UTC)


The at-large district was not used for the 9th-12th congresses per the US House website. See for the 9th Congress, which shows the Representatives being elected from districts rather than at-large XinaNicole (talk) 03:36, 7 December 2012 (UTC)