United States Senate elections, 1858 and 1859

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United States Senate elections, 1858 and 1859
United States
1856 / 1857 ←
Various dates → 1860 / 1861

22 of the 66 seats in the United States Senate (with special elections)
34 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
 
Party Democratic Republican
Last election 34 seats 15 seats
Seats before 42 20
Seats won 13 8
Seats after 38 25
Seat change Decrease 4 Increase 5
Seats up 17 3

  Third party Fourth party
 
Party Know Nothing Other
Last election 2 seats 4 seats
Seats before 4 0
Seats won 0 0
Seats after 2 0
Seat change Decrease 2 Steady
Seats up 2 0

Majority Party before election

Democratic Party

Elected Majority Party

Democratic Party

U.S. Postage, 1958 issue, commemorating the Lincoln and Douglas debates.

The United States Senate elections of 1858 and 1859 were elections which had the Republican Party gain five additional seats in the United States Senate, but the Democrats retained their majority. That majority would erode in 1860 with the secession of the southern states leading up to the Civil War. In Illinois, incumbent Stephen A. Douglas (D) and challenger Abraham Lincoln held a series of seven debates, known as the "Lincoln–Douglas debates."

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

Results summary[edit]

Senate Party Division, 36th Congress (1859-1861)

  • Majority Party: Democratic (38–25)
  • Minority Party: Republican (25–26)
  • Other Parties: American (2)
  • Total Seats: 66–68

Change in Senate composition[edit]

Before the elections[edit]

D3 D2 D1
D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 D10 D11 D12 D13
D23 D22 D21 D20 D19 D18 D17 D16 D15 D14
D24 D25 D26
Ran
D27
Ran
D28
Ran
D29
Ran
D30
Ran
D31
Ran
D32
Ran
D33
Ran
Majority → D34
Ran
KN4
Unknown
D42
Retired
D41
Retired
D40
Retired
D39
Retired
D38
Retired
D37
Ran
D36
Ran
D35
Ran
KN3
Unknown
KN2 KN1 R20
Ran
R19
Ran
R18
Ran
R17 R16 R15 R14
R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 R13
R3 R2 R1

As a result of the elections[edit]

D3 D2 D1
D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 D10 D11 D12 D13
D23 D22 D21 D20 D19 D18 D17 D16 D15 D14
D24 D25 D26
Re-elected
D27
Re-elected
D28
Re-elected
D29
Re-elected
D30
Re-elected
D31
Re-elected
D32
Re-elected
D33
Hold
Majority → D34
Hold
R24
Gain
R25
Gain
KN1 KN2 V1
D Loss
D38
Gain
D37
Gain
D36
Hold
D35
Hold
R23
Gain
R22
Gain
R21
Gain
R20
Re-elected
R19
Re-elected
R18
Re-elected
R17 R16 R15 R14
R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 R13
R3 R2 R1
Key:
D# Democratic
KN# Know Nothing
R# Republican
V# Vacant

Race summaries[edit]

Special elections during the 35th Congress[edit]

In these elections, the winners were seated during 1858 or in 1859 before March 4; ordered by election date.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
Minnesota
(Class 1)
New state Minnesota's first Senators were elected May 11, 1858.
Democratic gain.
Henry M. Rice (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Minnesota
(Class 2)
New state Minnesota's first Senators were elected May 11, 1858.
Democratic gain.
James Shields (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
North Carolina
(Class 3)
Thomas Clingman Democratic 1858 (Appointed) Interim appointee elected November 23, 1858 to finish the term.[1] Thomas Clingman (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
South Carolina
(Class 2)
Arthur P. Hayne Democratic 1858 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired when successor elected.
Winner elected December 3, 1858.
Democratic hold.
Winner was also elected to the next term, see below.
James Chesnut, Jr. (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Oregon
(Class 2)
New state Oregon's first Senators were elected February 14, 1859.
Democratic gain.
Delazon Smith (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Oregon
(Class 3)
New state Oregon's first Senators were elected February 14, 1859.
Democratic gain.
Joseph Lane (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]

Races leading to the 36th Congress[edit]

In these general elections, the winners were elected for the term beginning March 4, 1859; ordered by state.

All of the elections involved the Class 2 seats.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral
history
Alabama Clement Claiborne Clay Democratic 1853 (Special) Incumbent re-elected in 1858. Clement Claiborne Clay (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Arkansas William K. Sebastian Democratic 1848 (Appointed)
1848 (Special)
1853
Incumbent re-elected in 1859. William K. Sebastian (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Delaware Martin W. Bates Democratic 1857 (Special) Incumbent lost re-election.
Winner elected in 1858.
Democratic hold.
Willard Saulsbury, Sr. (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Georgia Robert Toombs Democratic 1852 Incumbent re-elected in 1858. Robert Toombs (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Illinois Stephen A. Douglas Democratic 1846
1852
Incumbent re-elected in 1858. Stephen A. Douglas (Democratic)
Abraham Lincoln (Republican)
Iowa George W. Jones Democratic 1848
1852
Incumbent lost renomination.
Winner elected January 26, 1858.[2]
Republican gain.
James W. Grimes (Republican)
Benjamin M. Samuels (Democratic)
Kentucky John B. Thompson Know Nothing 1852 or 1853 Unknown if incumbent retired or lost re-election.
Winner elected in January 1858.
Democratic gain.
Lazarus W. Powell (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Louisiana Judah P. Benjamin Democratic 1852 Incumbent re-elected in 1859. Judah P. Benjamin (Whig)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Maine William P. Fessenden Republican 1854 (Special) Incumbent re-elected in 1859. William P. Fessenden (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Massachusetts Henry Wilson Republican 1855 (Special) Incumbent re-elected in 1859. Henry Wilson (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Michigan Charles E. Stuart Democratic 1853 Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1858.
Republican gain.
Kinsley S. Bingham (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Minnesota James Shields Democratic 1848 or 1849 (Illinois)
1849 (Illinois: Election voided)
1849 (Illinois: Special)
1855 (Illinois: Lost)
1858 (Minnesota)
Incumbent lost re-election.
Winner elected in 1858 or 1859.
Republican gain.
Morton S. Wilkinson (Republican)
James Shields (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Mississippi Albert G. Brown Democratic 1854 (Special) Incumbent re-elected in 1859. Albert G. Brown (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
New Hampshire John P. Hale Republican 1846
1853 (Retired)
1855
Incumbent re-elected in 1859. John P. Hale (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
New Jersey William Wright Democratic 1852 or 1853 Incumbent lost re-election.
Winner elected in 1858.
Republican gain.
John C. Ten Eyck (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
North Carolina David Reid Democratic 1854 Incumbent lost re-election.
Winner elected in 1858 or 1859.
Democratic hold.
Thomas Bragg (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Oregon Delazon Smith Democratic 1859 Incumbent lost re-election.
Legislature failed to elect.
Democratic loss.
Seat would remain vacant until 1860.
Delazon Smith (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Rhode Island Philip Allen Democratic 1853 Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1858.
Republican gain.
Henry B. Anthony (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
South Carolina Arthur P. Hayne Democratic 1858 (Appointed) Interim appointee retired.
Winner elected December 3, 1858.
Democratic hold.
Winner was also elected to finish the current term, see above.
James Chesnut, Jr. (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Tennessee John Bell Know Nothing 1847
1853
Unknown if incumbent retired or lost re-election.
Winner elected in 1858.
Democratic gain.
Alfred O. P. Nicholson (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Texas Sam Houston Democratic 1846
1847
1853
Incumbent retired.
Winner elected in 1859.
Democratic hold.
John Hemphill (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
Virginia Robert M. T. Hunter Democratic 1846
1852
Incumbent re-elected in 1858. Robert M. T. Hunter (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]

Race leading to the 37th Congress[edit]

In this general election, the winner was elected for the term beginning March 4, 1861.

This election involved a Class 3 seat.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral
history
Kentucky
(Class 3)
John J. Crittenden Know Nothing 1817
1819 (Resigned)
1835
1841 (Retired)
1842 (Appointed)
1842 or 1843 (Special)
1843
1848 (Resigned)
1853
Incumbent retired.
Winner elected December 12, 1859, far in advance of the term.
Winner wasn't seated until term began March 4, 1861.
Democratic gain.
John C. Breckinridge (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]

Elections during the 36th Congress[edit]

In this election, the winner was elected in 1859 on or after March 4; ordered by date.

State Incumbent Results Candidates
Senator Party Electoral history
Texas
(Class 1)
Matthias Ward Democratic 1858 (Appointed) Interim appointee lost nomination to finish the term.
Winner was elected December 5, 1859.
Democratic hold.
Louis Wigfall (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing. You can help!]

See also[edit]

References[edit]