United States Senate elections, 1856 and 1857

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United States Senate elections, 1856 and 1857
United States
← 1854 / 1855 Various dates 1858 / 1859 →

21 of the 62 seats in the United States Senate (with special elections)
32 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party Third party
 
Party Democratic Republican Whig
Last election 33 seats 3 seats 20 seats
Seats before 37 11 8
Seats won 9 10 0
Seats after 34 15 3
Seat change Decrease 3 Increase 7 Decrease 5
Seats up 12 3 5

  Fourth party Fifth party
 
Party Know Nothing Free Soil
Last election 1 seat 2 seats
Seats before 1 2
Seats won 1 0
Seats after 2 1
Seat change Increase 1 Decrease 1
Seats up 0 1

Majority Party before election

Democratic Party

Elected Majority Party

Democratic Party

The United States Senate elections of 1856 and 1857 were elections which had the young Republican Party assume its position as one of the United States's two main political parties. The Whigs and Free Soilers were gone by the time the next Congress began.

As this election was prior to ratification of the seventeenth amendment, Senators were chosen by State legislatures.

Results summary[edit]

Senate Party Division, 35th Congress (1857-1859)

  • Majority Party: Democratic (37–42)
  • Minority Party: Republican (20)
  • Other Party: American (4)
  • Vacant: 1–0
  • Total Seats: 62–66

Change in Senate composition[edit]

Before the elections[edit]

After the January 14, 1856 special election in Pennsylvania.

D1
D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 D10 D11
D21 D20 D19 D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12
D22 D23 D24 D25 D26
Ran
D27
Ran
D28
Ran
D29
Ran
D30
Ran
D31
Ran
Majority → D32
Ran
KN1 V1 V2 V3 D37
Retired
D36
Retired
D35
Unknown
D34
Unknown
D33
Unknown
FS2
Ran
FS1 R11
Unknown
R10
Ran
R9
Ran
R8 R7 R6 R5 R4
W2 W3 W4
Unknown
W5
Retired
W6
Retired
W7
Retired
W8
Retired
R1 R2 R3
W1

As a result of the elections[edit]

D1
D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 D10 D11
D21 D20 D19 D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12
D22 D23 D24 D25 D26
Re-elected
D27
Re-elected
D28
Re-elected
D29
Re-elected
D30
Re-elected
D31
Re-elected
Majority → D32
Hold
FS1 KN1 KN2
Gain
V1
W Loss
V2 V3 V4 D34
Gain
D33
Hold
R15
Gain
R14
Re-elected
Diff. party
R13
Hold
R12
Re-elected
R11
Re-elected
R10 R9 R8 R7 R6
W2 W3 R1
Gain
R2
Gain
R3
Gain
R4
Gain
R5
Gain
R1 R2 R3
W1

Beginning of the next Congress[edit]

D1
D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 D10 D11
D21 D20 D19 D18 D17 D16 D15 D14 D13 D12
D22 D23 D24 D25 D26 D27 D28 D29 D30 D31
Majority → D32
KN2 KN3
Changed
KN4
Changed
V1 D37
Gain
D36
Gain
D35
Gain
D34
Changed
D33
Changed
KN1 R20 R19 R18 R17 R16 R15 R14 R13 R12
R2
Changed
R3
Changed
R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11
R1
Changed
Key:
D# Democratic
FS# Free Soil
KN# Know Nothing
R# Republican
W# Whig
V# Vacant

Race summaries[edit]

Elections during the 34th Congress[edit]

In these elections, the winners were seated during 1856 or in 1857 before March 4; ordered by election date.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
Pennsylvania
(Class 3)
Vacant Legislature had failed to elect.
Winner elected January 14, 1856.
Democratic gain.
William Bigler (Democratic) 61.65%
Edward Joy Morris (Republican) 32.33%
John C. Flenniken (Unknown) 0.75%
Missouri
(Class 3)
Vacant Legislature had failed to elect.
Winner elected January 12, 1857.
Democratic gain.
James S. Green (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
California
(Class 3)
Vacant Legislature had failed to elect.
Incumbent was then elected January 13, 1857.
Democratic gain.
William M. Gwin (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Delaware
(Class 2)
Joseph P. Comegys Whig 1856 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
Winner elected January 14, 1857.
Democratic gain.
Martin W. Bates (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Maine
(Class 1)
Hannibal Hamlin Democratic 1856 (Appointed) Incumbent resigned to become Governor of Maine.
Winner elected January 16, 1857.
Republican gain.
Winner was not elected to the next term, see below.
Amos Nourse (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Iowa
(Class 3)
James Harlan Free Soil 1855 Election invalidated January 5, 1857.
Incumbent re-elected January 29, 1857 to a different party.
Republican gain.
James Harlan (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Indiana
(Class 3)
Vacant Legislature had failed to elect.
Winner elected February 4, 1857.
Democratic gain.
Graham N. Fitch (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]

Races leading to the 35th Congress[edit]

In these general elections, the winners were elected for the term beginning March 4, 1857; ordered by state.

All of the elections involved the Class 1 seats.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
California John B. Weller Democratic 1852 (Special) Incumbent lost re-election.
Winner elected in 1856.
Democratic hold.
David C. Broderick (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Connecticut Isaac Toucey Democratic 1852 Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1856.
Republican gain.
James Dixon (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Delaware James A. Bayard, Jr. Democratic 1851 Incumbent re-elected in 1857. James A. Bayard, Jr. (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Florida Stephen Mallory Democratic 1851 Incumbent re-elected in 1857. Stephen Mallory (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Indiana Jesse D. Bright Democratic 1844
1850
Incumbent re-elected in 1856. Jesse D. Bright (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Maine Amos Nourse Republican 1857 (Special) Unknown if incumbent lost re-election or retired.
Winner elected in 1857.
Republican hold.
Hannibal Hamlin (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Maryland Thomas Pratt Whig 1850 (Special)
1851
Unknown if incumbent lost re-election or retired.
Winner elected in 1856 or 1857.
Know Nothing gain.
Anthony Kennedy (Know Nothing)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Massachusetts Charles Sumner Free Soil 1851 (Special) Incumbent re-elected in 1857 to a different party.
Republican gain.
Charles Sumner (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Michigan Lewis Cass Democratic 1844 or 1845
1848 (Resigned)
1849 (Special)
Unknown if incumbent lost re-election or retired.
Winner elected in January 1857.
Republican gain.
Zachariah Chandler (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Mississippi Stephen Adams Democratic 1852 (Special) Unknown if incumbent lost re-election or retired.
Winner elected in 1856 or 1857.
Democratic hold.
Jefferson Davis (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Missouri Henry S. Geyer Whig 1851 Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1857.
Democratic gain.
Trusten Polk (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
New Jersey John Renshaw Thomson Democratic 1853 (Special) Incumbent re-elected in 1857. John Renshaw Thomson (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
New York Hamilton Fish Whig 1851 Incumbent retired.
Winner elected February 3, 1857.
Republican gain.
Preston King (Republican) 91
Daniel E. Sickles (Democratic) 34
Joel T. Headley (Know Nothing) 15
Ohio Benjamin Wade Republican 1851 Incumbent re-elected in 1856. Benjamin Wade (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Pennsylvania Richard Brodhead Democratic 1851 Unknown if incumbent lost re-election or retired.
Winner elected January 13, 1857.
Republican gain.
Simon Cameron (Republican) 50.38%
John W. Forney (Democratic) 43.61%
Henry D. Foster (Democratic) 5.26%
William Wilkins (Democratic) 0.75%
Rhode Island Charles T. James Whig 1850 or 1851 Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1856.
Republican gain.
James F. Simmons (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Tennessee James C. Jones Whig 1851 Incumbent retired.
Legislature failed to elect.
Whig loss.
Seat would remain vacant until October 8, 1857, see below.
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Texas Thomas J. Rusk Democratic 1846
1851
Incumbent re-elected in 1857. Thomas J. Rusk (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Vermont Solomon Foot Republican 1850 Incumbent re-elected in 1856. Solomon Foot (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Virginia James M. Mason Democratic 1847 (Special)
1850
Incumbent re-elected in 1856. James M. Mason (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Wisconsin Henry Dodge Democratic 1848
1851
Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1857.
Republican gain.
James R. Doolittle (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]

Elections during the 35th Congress[edit]

In these elections, the winners were elected in 1857 after March 4; ordered by election date.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
New Hampshire
(Class 3)
James Bell Republican 1855 Incumbent died May 25, 1857.
Winner elected June 27, 1857.
Republican hold.
Daniel Clark (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Tennessee
(Class 1)
Vacant Legislature had failed to elect.
Winner elected October 8, 1857.
Democratic gain.
Andrew Johnson (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
South Carolina
(Class 3)
Andrew Butler Democratic 1846 (Appointed)
? (Special)
1848
1854
Incumbent died May 25, 1857.
Winner elected December 7, 1857.
Democratic hold.
James H. Hammond (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]

Complete list of states[edit]

New York[edit]

The New York election was held February 3, 1857, by the New York State Legislature. Whig Hamilton Fish had been elected in 1851 to this seat, and his term would expire on March 3, 1857.

In 1855, the Whig Party and the Anti-Nebraska Party merged in New York to form the Republican Party.

At the State election in November 1855, 16 Republicans, 11 Americans, 4 Democrats and 1 Temperance man were elected for a two-year term (1856-1857) in the State Senate. At the State election in November 1856, 81 Republicans, 31 Democrats and 8 Americans were elected to the Assembly for the session of 1857. The 80th New York State Legislature met from January 6 to April 18, 1857, at Albany, New York.

Preston King was nominated by a caucus of Republican State legislators. King had been a Democratic congressman from 1843 to 1847, a Free Soil congressman from 1849 to 1853, and had joined the Republican Party upon its foundation at the State convention in September 1855. The convention nominated King for Secretary of State, but he was defeated by Joel T. Headley in a four-way race. Secretary of State Joel T. Headley was the candidate of the American Party. State Senator Daniel E. Sickles was the candidate of the Democratic Party.

In the Assembly the vote confirmed the party caucus selections. When State Senator Sickles received votes, the same objection to his eligibility was raised as was in 1833 regarding Nathaniel P. Tallmadge. This time, Speaker DeWitt C. Littlejohn ruled that the objection was "partially tenable and partially not so." However, the Speaker held that any member could vote for anybody, and only if the candidate received sufficient votes to win the election, a decision would be required. Otherwise, like in this case, the eligibility of an also-ran was irrelevant.

In the State Senate, only 24 votes were given. Zenas Clark (Rep.) and John B. Halsted (Rep.) were sick at home. Eaton J. Richardson (Rep.) paired with Sidney Sweet (Am.). Joseph H. Petty (Am.) was absent. William Kelly (Dem.), Mark Spencer (Dem.), and the Democratic candidate Sickles himself, declined to vote.

State Senator Justin A. Smith (Am.) raised the question if the vote for Sickles could be counted. A new State Constitution had been adopted in 1846, which had clarified the question of eligibility of State legislators. Smith quoted from the State Constitution: "No member of the Legislature shall receive any civil appointment within thios State, or to the Senate of the United States, from the Governor, the Governor and Senate, or from the Legislature, during the term for which he shall have been elected; and all votes given for any such member, for any such office or appointment, shall be void." Lt. Gov. Henry R. Selden (later a judge of the New York Court of Appeals) decided to count the vote, holding that the United States Constitution described the eligibility for the office and devolved on the State legislatures only the power to prescribe the "times, places and manners of holding the elections for that office", thus not implying a right for the State governments to exclude any person who would be eligible under the U.S. Constitution.[1]

Preston King was the choice of both the Assembly and the Senate, and was declared elected.

House Republican Democrat American
State Senate (32 members) Preston King 14 Daniel E. Sickles 1 Joel T. Headley 9
State Assembly (128 members) Preston King 77 Daniel E. Sickles 33 Joel T. Headley 6

Pennsylvania[edit]

Class 3 seat: 1856 special election[edit]

The Class 3 election was held on January 14, 1856. William Bigler was elected by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to the United States Senate.[2]

The Pennsylvania General Assembly, had previously convened on February 13, 1855, for the regularly scheduled Senate election for the term beginning on March 4, 1855. Two ballots were recorded on February 13, followed by three on February 27, 1855. On the fifth and final ballot during this convention, former Senator Simon Cameron had led with 55 votes to future Senator Charles R. Buckalew's 23. No candidate was elected, however, and the hung election convention adjourned by a vote of 66 to 65. Upon the expiration of incumbent James Cooper's term on March 4, 1855, the seat was vacated and would remain vacant until William Bigler's election in January 1856.[3]

On January 14, 1856, the election convention of the General Assembly re-convened and elected Democratic former Governor of Pennsylvania William Bigler on the first ballot to serve the remainder of the term that began on March 4, 1855 and would expire on March 4, 1861. The results of the vote of both houses combined are as follows:

State Legislature Results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic William Bigler 82 61.65
Republican Edward Joy Morris 43 32.33
Unknown John C. Flenniken 1 0.75
N/A Not voting 7 5.26
Totals 133 100.00%

Class 1 seat: 1857 election[edit]

The Class 1 election in Pennsylvania was held on January 13, 1857. Simon Cameron was elected by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to the United States Senate.[4]

The Pennsylvania General Assembly convened on January 13, 1857, to elect a Senator to serve the term beginning on March 4, 1857. The results of the vote of both houses combined are as follows:

State Legislature Results[4][5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Simon Cameron 67 50.38
Democratic John W. Forney 58 43.61
Democratic Henry D. Foster 7 5.26
Democratic William Wilkins 1 0.75
Totals 133 100.00%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Journal of the Senate of the State of New York (80th Session) (pages 171f)
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Senate Election - 14 January 1856" (PDF). Wilkes University. Retrieved December 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ "U.S. Senate Election - 13 February 1855, 27 February 1855" (PDF). Wilkes University. Retrieved December 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Senate Election - 13 January 1857" (PDF). Wilkes University. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 
  5. ^ "PA US Senate - 1857". OurCampaigns. Retrieved December 22, 2012.