1848 and 1849 United States House of Representatives elections

← 1846 / 47 August 7, 1848 – November 6, 1849[Note 1] 1850 / 51 →

All 233[Note 2] seats in the U.S. House of Representatives
117 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Howell Cobb-crop.jpg Robert Charles Winthrop - Brady-Handy.jpg
Leader Howell Cobb Robert C. Winthrop
Party Democratic Whig
Leader's seat Georgia 6th Massachusetts 1st
Last election 112 seats 116 seats
Seats won 113[Note 2] 108
Seat change Increase 1 Decrease 8

  Third party Fourth party
 
Party Free Soil Know Nothing
Last election 0 seats 1 seats
Seats won 9 1
Seat change Increase 9 Steady

Speaker before election

Robert C. Winthrop
Whig

Elected Speaker

Howell Cobb
Democratic

Elections to the United States House of Representatives for the 31st Congress were held at various dates in different states from August 1848 to November 1849.

These elections spanned the presidential election of 1848, in which Zachary Taylor of the Whig Party defeated Lewis Cass of the Democratic Party, and took place on the heels of the U.S. victory over Mexico in the (1846–48) Mexican–American War. Though they won the White House, the Whigs ultimately lost the House majority they had won two years earlier; the Democrats, whose support had driven the war, regained a House plurality. Additionally, the Free Soil Party won nine Northern seats, while the American or Know Nothing Party retained one.

As neither major political party held a clear majority in the House when the 31st Congress convened on December 3, 1849, the election of a Speaker of the House proved an arduous task. The Whigs split, with Northern Whigs nominating incumbent speaker Robert C. Winthrop of Massachusetts and Southern Whigs supporting Meredith P. Gentry of Tennessee. Although Democrats primarily supported Howell Cobb of Georgia, over a dozen other candidates garnered support. Free Soilers, eager to test how much influence their new antislavery congressional bloc might wield, supported David Wilmot of Pennsylvania, author of the Wilmot Proviso, and used the opportunity to call attention to Slave Power's hold over both major parties. Ultimately, after nearly three weeks of heated debate, the House set aside its majority rule (i.e. to win, one must receive a majority of the votes cast), which resulted (on December 22, 1849) in Cobb being elected on the 63rd ballot by a plurality: Cobb 102; Winthrop 99; Wilmot 8; various others 12.[1]

Following the discovery of gold in January 1848, California boomed, creating immediate pressure for statehood. The Compromise of 1850, though largely crafted in the Senate, was also passed by the House, brokering its admission to the Union and temporarily addressing sectional tension. Anticipating statehood, California elected two Representatives at-large on November 11, 1849. They were seated September 11, 1850.

Election summaries

Wisconsin was apportioned an additional seat in 1848,[2] and two more seats were added for the new state of California.[3]

113 9 1 1 108
Democratic FS I AKN Whig
State Type Date Total
seats
Democratic Whig Free Soil Other
Seats Change Seats Change Seats Change Seats Change
Arkansas At-large August 7, 1848 1 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Illinois District August 7, 1848 7 6 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Iowa District August 7, 1848 2 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Missouri District August 7, 1848 5 5 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Vermont District September 5, 1848 4 1 Steady 3 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Maine District September 11, 1848 7 5 Decrease1 2 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady
Florida At-large October 2, 1848 1 0 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Georgia District October 2, 1848 8 4 Steady 4 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
South Carolina District October 9–10, 1848 7 7 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Ohio District October 10, 1848 21 11 Increase1 8 Decrease3 2 Increase2 0 Steady
Pennsylvania District October 10, 1848 24 9 Increase2 13 Decrease3 1 Increase1 1[Note 3] Steady
Delaware At-large November 6, 1848 1 0 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Michigan District November 7, 1848
(Election Day)[Note 4]
3 2 Decrease1 1 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady
New Jersey District 5 1 Steady 4 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
New York District 34 1 Decrease10 32 Increase9 1 Increase1 0 Steady
Wisconsin District 3[Note 5] 1 Decrease1 1 Increase1 1 Increase1 0 Steady
Massachusetts District November 13, 1848 10[Note 6] 0 Steady 8 Decrease2 1 Increase1 0 Steady
1849 elections
New Hampshire District March 13, 1849 4 2 Steady 1 Steady 1 Increase1 0 Decrease1[Note 7]
Connecticut District April 2, 1849 4 2 Increase2 1 Decrease3 1 Increase1 0 Steady
Rhode Island District April 4, 1849 2 0 Decrease1 2 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady
Virginia District April 26, 1849 15 13 Increase4 2 Decrease4 0 Steady 0 Steady
Tennessee District August 2, 1849 11 7 Increase1 4 Decrease1 0 Steady 0 Steady
Alabama District August 6, 1849 7 5 Steady 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Indiana District August 6, 1849 10 8 Increase2 1 Decrease3 1 Increase1 0 Steady
Kentucky District August 6, 1849 10 4 Steady 6 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Texas District August 6, 1849 2 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
North Carolina District August 7, 1849 9 3 Steady 6 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Maryland District October 3, 1849 6 3 Increase1 3 Decrease1 0 Steady 0 Steady
Louisiana District November 5, 1849 4 3 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Mississippi District November 5–6, 1849 4 4 Increase1 0 Decrease1 0 Steady 0 Steady
California At-large November 11, 1849[Note 8] 2 1 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady 1[Note 9] Increase1
Total[Note 2] 232 113
48.7%
Increase1 108
46.6%
Decrease8 9
3.9%
Increase9 2
0.9%
Steady
House seats
Democratic
48.71%
Free Soil
3.88%
Know-Nothing
0.43%
Whig
46.55%
Others
0.43%

California

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
California at-large
2 seats on a general ticket
None New seat.
New member elected November 11, 1849 in anticipation of statehood.
Independent gain.
George W. Wright (Independent) 22%
Edward Gilbert (Democratic) 20.6%
Rodman M. Price 16.3%
P. A. Morse 8.3%
Lewis Dent 8.2%
E. J. C. Kewen 7.3%
W. M. Sheppard 7.2%
William E. Shannon 5.4%
Peter Halsted 2.4%
L. W. Hastings 0.9%
Pierson B. Reading 0.7%
W. H. Russell 0.4%
J. S. Thompson 0.3%
Kimball H. Dimmick 0.2%
None New seat.
New member elected November 11, 1849 in anticipation of statehood.
Democratic gain.

Florida

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Florida at-large Edward C. Cabell Whig 1846 Incumbent re-elected October 2, 1848. Edward C. Cabell (Whig) 53.5%
William Pope Duval (Democratic) 46.5%

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Excludes states admitted during the 31st Congress
  2. ^ a b c Includes late elections
  3. ^ 1 Know-Nothing
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Increase of 1 seat
  6. ^ One vacancy, in MA-04, for the duration of the 31st Congress (as no candidate received a majority of the vote after multiple elections).
  7. ^ Previous election had 1 Independent
  8. ^ Seated September 11, 1850 after admission to the Union.
  9. ^ 1 Independent elected.

References

  1. ^ Brooks, Corey M. (2016). Liberty Power: Antislavery Third Parties and the Transformation of American Politics. University of Chicago Press. pp. 155–160. ISBN 978-0-226-30728-2. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  2. ^ Stat. 235
  3. ^ Stat. 452

Bibliography

  • Dubin, Michael J. (March 1, 1998). United States Congressional Elections, 1788-1997: The Official Results of the Elections of the 1st Through 105th Congresses. McFarland and Company. ISBN 978-0786402830.
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (January 1, 1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress, 1789-1989. Macmillan Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0029201701.
  • Moore, John L., ed. (1994). Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections (Third ed.). Congressional Quarterly Inc. ISBN 978-0871879967.
  • "Party Divisions of the House of Representatives* 1789–Present". Office of the Historian, House of United States House of Representatives. Retrieved January 21, 2015.

External links

  • Office of the Historian (Office of Art & Archives, Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives)