1854 United States House of Representatives elections

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
United States House of Representatives elections, 1854

← 1852 August 4, 1854 – November 6, 1855 1856 →

All 234 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives
118 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  William Alexander Richardson - Brady-Handy.jpg Nathaniel Prentice Banks.jpg
Leader William A. Richardson Henry M. Fuller Nathaniel P. Banks
Party Democratic Whig Know Nothing
Leader's seat Illinois 5 Pennsylvania 12 Massachusetts 7
Seats before 158 71 seats 0 seats
Seats after 83[1][2] 54[Note 2] 51[1][2][Note 1]
Seat change Decrease 75 Decrease 17 Increase 51

  Fourth party Fifth party
  Lewis D. Campbell 35th Congress 1859.jpg Schuyler Colfax portrait.jpg
Leader Lewis D. Campbell Schuyler Colfax
Party Republican People's Party
Leader's seat Ohio 3 Indiana 9
Seats before 4 seats 0 seats
Seats after 37[Note 2][Note 3] 9[3][Note 2]
Seat change Increase 33[Note 4] Increase 9

Speaker before election

Linn Boyd
Democratic

Elected Speaker

Nathaniel P. Banks
American

Elections to the United States House of Representatives for the 34th Congress were held at various dates in each State, the earliest being in the middle of President Franklin Pierce's term on August 4, 1854 (in Arkansas) and the latest on November 6, 1855 (in Louisiana and Maryland).

The Democratic and Whig parties, which had been the 2 largest parties for the past 20 years, both lost a substantial number of seats. The Democrats in particular lost their majority in the chamber which they had held since 1850. The American Party (commonly called the Know Nothings) and the Opposition Party formed a coalition government which elected Nathaniel P. Banks as House Speaker even though the Democratic Party won the election with the largest plurality of seats. The Opposition Party included members of the Whig Party (which would soon collapse), the People's Party of Indiana, Anti-Nebraska candidates, and members of the nascent Republican Party.

The major issue of this midterm election was the recently passed Kansas–Nebraska Act and the Bleeding Kansas conflict that resulted from it. The Act infuriated much of the North, as it repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and opened the Federal territories to slavery. Because the Pierce Administration and Democrats in Congress had been the primary supporters of the Act, the party lost many seats in the Northern states; this included 16 in New York, 12 in Ohio and 9 in Pennsylvania. The new Anti-Nebraska movement (a loose group of independent, Free Soil, and early Republican politicians) gained a combined 37 seats in the North. The American Party gained seats in both the North and South. It ignored the slavery issue and focused on pushing for reduced immigration, especially from Catholic areas of Ireland and Germany.

The lack of any partisan majority led to a drawn out election for Speaker of the House. The Democratic Party supported William Alexander Richardson of Illinois as their candidate. Whigs, Republicans, Americans, and Free Soil members of the House supported various candidates, and no candidate received a majority vote. In the end, the House agreed to elect a Speaker by plurality vote, as the elections were taking up time for legislative matters. Non-Democratic members of Congress then elected Nathaniel P. Banks of Massachusetts as their Speaker.[4] To date, this is the last time an election to the House resulted in neither a Republican nor a Democrat becoming Speaker.

Election summaries[edit]

34th Congress United States House of Representatives.svg
State Type Date Total
seats
Opposition Democratic American
Seats Change[Note 5] Seats Change Seats Change
Illinois District November 7, 1854
(Election Day)[Note 6]
9 4 Steady 5 Steady 0 Steady
Michigan District 4 3 Increase2 1 Decrease3 0 Steady
New Jersey District 5 4 Increase3 1 Decrease3 0 Steady
New York District 33 25 Increase13 5 Decrease16 3 Increase3
Wisconsin District 3 2 Increase2 1 Decrease2 0 Steady
Arkansas District August 4, 1854 2 0 Steady 2 Steady 0 Steady
California At-large September 6, 1854 2 0 Steady 2 Steady 0 Steady
Delaware At-large November 14, 1854 1 0 Steady 0 Decrease1 1 Increase1
Florida At-large October 2, 1854 1 0 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady
Indiana District October 10, 1854 11 9 Increase8 2 Decrease8 0 Steady
Iowa District August 7, 1854 2 1 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady
Maine District September 11, 1854 6 5 Increase2 1 Decrease2 0 Steady
Massachusetts District November 12, 1854 11 0 Decrease10 0 Decrease1 11 Increase11
Missouri District August 7, 1854 7 6 Increase2 1 Decrease2 0 Steady
Ohio District October 10, 1854 21 21 Increase12 0 Decrease12 0 Steady
Pennsylvania District October 10, 1854 25 17 Increase8 7 Decrease9 1 Increase1
South Carolina District October 9–10, 1854 6 0 Steady 6 Steady 0 Steady
Vermont District September 5, 1854 3 3 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
1855 elections
Alabama District August 6, 1855 7 0 Decrease1 5 Decrease1 2 Increase2
Connecticut District April 2, 1855 4 0 Steady 0 Decrease4 4 Increase4
Georgia District October 1, 1855 8 0 Decrease2 6 Steady 2 Increase2
Kentucky District August 6, 1855 10 0 Decrease5 4 Decrease1 6 Increase6
Louisiana District November 5, 1855 4 0 Decrease1 3 Steady 1 Increase1
Maryland District November 6, 1855 6 0 Decrease2 2 Decrease2 4 Increase4
Mississippi District[Note 7] November 5–6, 1855 5 0 Steady 4 Decrease1 1 Increase1
New Hampshire District March 13, 1855 3 0 Steady 0 Decrease3 3 Increase3
North Carolina District August 2, 1855 8 0 Decrease3 5 Steady 3 Increase3
Rhode Island District April 4, 1855 2 0 Steady 0 Decrease2 2 Increase2
Tennessee District August 2, 1855 10 0 Decrease5 5 Steady 5 Increase5
Texas District August 6, 1855 2 0 Steady 1 Decrease1 1 Increase1
Virginia District May 24, 1855 13 0 Steady 12 Decrease1 1 Increase1
Total 234 100[1][2]
42.7%
Increase29[Note 8] 83[1][2]
35.0%
Decrease75 51[1][2]
21.8%
Increase51
House seats
Democratic
35.47%
Whig
23.08%
American
21.79%
Republican
15.81%
People's
3.85%

Arkansas[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Arkansas 1 Alfred B. Greenwood Democratic 1853 Incumbent re-elected.
Arkansas 2 Albert Rust Democratic 1854 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Democratic hold.
  • Albert Rust (Democratic) 65.95%
  • E.G. Walker (Whig) 34.05%

California[edit]

Note: From statehood to 1864, California's representatives were elected at-large, with the top two vote-getters winning election from 1849 to 1858; in 1860 when California gained a seat in the House the top three vote-getters were elected.

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
California at-large
2 seats on a general ticket
Milton S. Latham Democratic 1852 Incumbent withdrew.
New member elected.
Democratic hold.
James W. Denver (Democratic) 22.41%
Philemon T. Herbert (Democratic) 22.24%
George W. Bowie (Whig) 21.14%
Calhoun Benham (Whig) 20.94%
James Churchman (Broderick Democratic) 6.09%
James A. McDougall (Broderick Democratic) 6.07%
Milton S. Latham (Broderick Democratic) 1.12%
James A. McDougall Democratic 1852 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Democratic hold.

Florida[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Florida at-large Augustus Maxwell Democratic 1852 Incumbent re-elected. Augustus Maxwell (Democratic) 55.26%
Thomas Brown (Whig) 44.74%

Iowa[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Iowa 1 Bernhart Henn Democratic 1850 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Democratic hold.
  • Augustus Hall (Democratic) 50.27%
  • R.L. Clark (Whig) 49.50%
  • J.L. Ashbaugh (Independent) 0.23%
Iowa 2 William Vandever Whig 1852 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Whig hold.

Maine[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Maine 1 Moses Macdonald Democratic 1850 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
  • John M. Wood (Republican) 59.36%
  • Samuel Wells (Democratic) 39.91%
  • Lorenzo D. Wilkinson (Independent) 0.74%
Maine 2 Samuel Mayall Democratic 1852 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
  • John J. Perry (Republican) 56.88%
  • William K. Kimball (Democratic) 42.46%
  • Charles J. Gilman (Independent) 0.66%
Maine 3 E. Wilder Farley Whig 1852 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Maine 4 Samuel P. Benson Whig 1852 Incumbent re-elected.
Republican gain.
Maine 5 Israel Washburn, Jr. Whig 1850 Incumbent re-elected.
Republican gain.
Maine 6 Thomas J. D. Fuller Democratic 1848 Incumbent re-elected.
  • Thomas J. D. Fuller (Democratic) 42.39%
  • James A. Milliken (Republican) 38.74%
  • Noah Smith (Whig) 18.88%

Missouri[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Missouri 1 Thomas Hart Benton Benton Democratic (Opposition) 1852 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Whig gain.
Missouri 2 Alfred W. Lamb Democratic 1852 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Whig gain.
Missouri 3 James J. Lindley Whig 1853 Incumbent re-elected.
Missouri 4 Mordecai Oliver Whig 1852 Incumbent re-elected.
  • Mordecai Oliver (Whig) 41.95%
  • S.L. Leonard (Democratic) 34.21%
  • Shelton J. Howe (Benton Democratic) 19.08%
  • J.F. Pitt (Ind. Whig) 4.76%
Missouri 5 John G. Miller Whig 1850 Incumbent re-elected.
Missouri 6 John S. Phelps Democratic 1844 Incumbent re-elected.
Missouri 7 Samuel Caruthers Whig 1853 Incumbent re-elected.

Pennsylvania[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Pennsylvania 1 Thomas B. Florence Democratic 1848 Incumbent re-elected.
Pennsylvania 2 Joseph R. Chandler Whig 1848 Incumbent lost re-election as an Independent.
New member elected.
Whig gain.
Pennsylvania 3 John Robbins Democratic 1848 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Whig gain.
Pennsylvania 4 William Henry Witte Democratic 1852 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
American gain.
Pennsylvania 5 John McNair Democratic 1850 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Democratic hold.
Pennsylvania 6 William Everhart Whig 1852 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Democratic gain.
  • John Hickman (Democratic) 58.97%
  • John M. Broomall (Whig) 41.03%
Pennsylvania 7 Samuel A. Bridges Democratic 1852 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Pennsylvania 8 J. Glancy Jones Democratic 1854 Incumbent re-elected.
Pennsylvania 9 Isaac E. Hiester Whig 1852 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Independent gain.
Pennsylvania 10 Ner Middleswarth Whig 1852 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Whig hold.
  • John C. Kunkel (Whig) 55.99%
  • Amos Boughter (Democratic) 43.01%
  • George A. Seiler (Independent) 1.00%
Pennsylvania 11 Christian M. Straub Democratic 1852 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Whig gain.
  • James H. Campbell (Republican) 38.87%
  • William L. Dewart (Democratic) 36.68%
  • Joseph W. Cake (Democratic) 21.90%
  • Kimber Cleaver (Know Nothing) 2.56%
Pennsylvania 12 Hendrick B. Wright Democratic 1852 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Whig gain.
Pennsylvania 13 Asa Packer Democratic 1852 Incumbent re-elected.
  • Asa Packer (Democratic) 58.67%
  • Edward F. Stewart (Whig) 41.33%
Pennsylvania 14 Galusha A. Grow Democratic 1850 Incumbent re-elected.
  • Galusha A. Grow (Democratic) 95.22%
  • Jim Grow (Independent) 4.56%
  • Olin L. Hawley (Independent) 0.23%

Vermont[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Vermont 1 James Meacham Whig 1849 Incumbent re-elected.
  • James Meacham (Whig) 71.35%
  • Solomon W. Jewett (Democratic) 28.65%
Vermont 2 Andrew Tracy Whig 1852 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
  • Justin S. Morrill (Republican) 50.26%
  • J.W. Parker (Democratic) 35.07%
  • Oscar L. Shafter (Free Soil) 14.68%
Vermont 3 Alvah Sabin Whig 1852 Incumbent re-elected.
  • Alvah Sabin (Whig) 68.54%
  • William Heywood (Democratic) 31.46%

Wisconsin[edit]

Election results in Wisconsin for 1854:[5]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Wisconsin 1 Daniel Wells, Jr. Democratic 1852 Incumbent re-elected.
Wisconsin 2 Ben C. Eastman Whig 1850 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Wisconsin 3 Alvah Sabin Whig 1852 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
  • Charles Billinghurst (Republican) 55.9%
  • John B. Macy (Democratic) 36.0%
  • Harvey G. Turner (Independent) 8.1%

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ While Martis, et al. count 51 American Party members, Dubin (p. 174) counts 52.
  2. ^ a b c Counted as part of the plurality winning "Opposition Party".
  3. ^ According to Dubin (p. 174), this figure includes 13 Republicans, along with approximately 24 Anti-Nebraskans.
  4. ^ Compared to Free Soilers elected in the previous election of 1852.
  5. ^ Compared to Whigs, Free Soilers, and Independents elected in the previous election of 1852.
  6. ^ In 1845, Congress passed a law providing for a uniform date for choosing presidential electors (see: Statutes at Large, 28th Congress, 2nd Session, p. 721). Congressional elections were unaffected by this law, but the date was gradually adopted by the states for Congressional elections as well.
  7. ^ At-large district abolished in redistricting.
  8. ^ Compared to just Whig Party members elected in the previous election of 1852. If Whig Party and Free Soil Party members are counted together, the increase was only Increase25.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Martis, pp. 108–109.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Party Divisions of the House of Representatives* 1789–Present". Office of the Historian, House of United States House of Representatives. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  3. ^ Dubin, p. 174.
  4. ^ Allan Nevins (1947). Ordeal of the Union, Volume II: A House Dividing 1852-1857. New York. pp. 413–415.
  5. ^ "Wisconsin U.S. House Election Results" (PDF). Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 5, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2014.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]