1858 and 1859 United States House of Representatives elections

← 1856 August 2, 1858 – November 8, 1859[a] 1860 / 61 →

All 238 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives[1][2]
120 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  William Pennington portrait.jpg ThomasSBocock.png
Leader William Pennington Thomas Bocock
Party Republican Democratic
Leader's seat New Jersey 5th Virginia 5th
Last election 90 seats 133 seats
Seats won 116 98[b]
Seat change Increase 26 Decrease 35

  Third party Fourth party
  John Adams Gilmer - Brady-Handy.jpg Henry Winter Davis.jpg
Leader John Adams Gilmer Henry Winter Davis
Party Opposition Know Nothing
Leader's seat North Carolina 5th Maryland 4th
Last election 0 seats 14 seats
Seats won 19 5
Seat change Increase 19 Decrease 9

Speaker before election

James Orr
Democratic

Elected Speaker

William Pennington
Republican

Elections to the United States House of Representatives for the 36th Congress were held during President James Buchanan's term at various dates in different states from August 1858 to November 1859.

Winning a plurality for the first time, Republicans benefited from multiple political factors. These included the implosion of the nativist American Party, sectional strife in the Democratic Party, Northern voter discomfort with the infamous March 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, political exposure of Democrats to chaotic violence in Kansas amid repeated attempts to impose legal slavery against the will of the majority of its settlers, and a decline in President Buchanan's popularity due to his perceived fecklessness. In Pennsylvania, his home state, Republicans made particularly large gains.

The pivotal Dred Scott decision was only the second time the Supreme Court had overturned law on Constitutional grounds. The decision created apprehension in the North, where slavery had ceased to exist, that a ruling in a different case widely expected to be heard by the Supreme Court would strike down any limitations on slavery anywhere in the United States.

Short of a majority, Republicans controlled the House with limited cooperation from smaller parties, which also opposed Democrats. Republicans were united in opposition to slavery in the territories and to fugitive slave laws. Republicans thus rejected the abrogation of the Missouri Compromise, key aspects of the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Dred Scott decision. Though not yet abolitionist, Republicans derived a primary partisan purpose from open hostility to slavery while furnishing a mainstream platform for abolitionism in its membership. None of the party's views or positions was new. However, their mutual catalysis by unification into a cohesive political vehicle, and the bold dismissal of the South, represented a new, disruptive political force.

Democrats remained divided and politically trapped. Fifteen Democratic Representatives publicly defied their party label. Of seven Independent Democrats, six represented districts in Southern states. Eight Northern Anti-Lecompton Democrats favored a ban on slavery in Kansas, effectively upholding the Missouri Compromise their party had destroyed several years earlier. The party lacked credible leadership. It continued to drift in a direction favorable to the interests of slavery despite both widening and intensifying opposition of Northern voters to the expansion of those interests. A damaging public perception also existed that President Buchanan had improperly influenced and endorsed the Dred Scott decision, incorrectly believing that it had solved his main political problem. Such influence would violate the separation of powers. The sensational gap between Democratic rhetoric and results was visible to voters. Defeat in the North and intra-party defection combined to make the Democratic Party both more Southern and more radical.

Democrats lost seats in some slave states as the disturbing turn of national events and surge in sectional tensions alarmed a significant minority of Southern voters. Southern politicians opposing both Democrats and extremism, but unwilling to affiliate with Republicans, ran on the Southern Opposition Party ticket (not to be conflated with the Opposition Party of 1854).[c]

For 11 states, this was the last full Congressional election until the Reconstruction. Twenty-nine elected Representatives quit near the end of the session following their states' secession from the Union, whose immediate motivation was the result of the election of 1860.

Special elections

There were special elections in 1858 and 1859 to the 35th United States Congress and 36th United States Congress.

Special elections are sorted by date then district.

35th Congress

District Incumbent This race
Member Party First elected Results Candidates
Massachusetts 7 Nathaniel P. Banks Republican 1852 Incumbent resigned December 24, 1857 to become Governor of Massachusetts.
New member elected in December 1857 or January 1858.
Republican hold.
Successor seated January 21, 1858.[3]
Successor already elected to the next term, see below.
Daniel W. Gooch (Republican)
[Data unknown/missing.]
Oregon at-large New state New state.
New member elected June 7, 1858.
Democratic gain.
Successor seated February 14, 1859.[3]
Successor did not run for the next term, see below.
La Fayette Grover (Democratic)
[Data unknown/missing.]
North Carolina 8 Thomas L. Clingman Democratic 1852 Incumbent resigned May 7, 1858 to become U.S. Senator.
New member elected August 5, 1858[4]
Know Nothing gain.
Successor seated December 7, 1858.[3]
Successor later elected to the next term, see below.
Zebulon B. Vance (Know Nothing) 57.02%
William W. Avery (Democratic) 42.98%[4]
Mississippi 5 John A. Quitman Democratic 1855 Incumbent died July 17, 1858.
New member elected October 4, 1858.
Democratic hold.
Successor seated December 7, 1858.[3]
Successor later elected to the next term, see below.
John J. McRae (Democratic) 99.08%
Scattering 0.92%
Pennsylvania 8 J. Glancy Jones Democratic 1850 Incumbent resigned October 30, 1858.
New member elected November 30, 1858.[5]
Republican gain.
Successor seated December 7, 1858.[3]
Successor not elected to the next term, see below.
William H. Keim (Republican) 51.98%
Joel B. Warner (Democratic) 48.02%[5]
Illinois 6 Thomas L. Harris Democratic 1854 Incumbent died November 24, 1858.
New member elected January 4, 1859.
Democratic hold.
Successor seated January 20, 1859.[3]
Successor not elected to the next term, see below.
New York 4 John Kelly Democratic 1854 Incumbent resigned December 25, 1858.
New member elected January 4, 1859.[6]
Independent Democratic gain.
Successor seated January 17, 1859.[3]
Successor was also elected to the next term, see below.
Thomas J. Barr (Independent Democratic) 96.89%
Scattering 3.11%

36th Congress

District Incumbent This race
Member Party First elected Results Candidates
Ohio 14 Cyrus Spink Republican 1858 Incumbent died May 31, 1859.
New member elected October 11, 1859.
Republican hold.
Successor seated December 5, 1859.[7]
Harrison G. O. Blake (Republican) 56.17%
Neal Power (Democratic) 43.83%[8]
Virginia 4 William Goode Democratic 1853 Incumbent died May 31, 1859.
New member elected October 27, 1859.
Democratic hold.
Successor seated December 7, 1859.[7]
Roger Pryor (Democratic)
Thomas F. Goode (Democratic)
Illinois 6 Thomas L. Harris Democratic 1854 Incumbent died November 24, 1858.
New member elected November 8, 1859.
Democratic hold.
Successor seated December 5, 1859.[7]

Election summaries

One seat each was added for the new states of Oregon[9] and Kansas.[10]

98 5 19 116
Democratic KN Opp. Republican
State Type Date Total
seats
Democratic[d] Know Nothing Opposition Republican
Seats Change Seats Change Seats Change Seats Change
Oregon [e] At-large June 7, 1858 1 1 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Arkansas Districts August 2, 1858 2 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Missouri Districts August 2, 1858 7 5[f] Steady 1 Decrease1 0 Steady 1 Increase1
Vermont Districts September 7, 1858 3 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 3 Steady
Maine Districts September 13, 1858 6 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 6 Steady
Florida At-large October 4, 1858 1 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
South Carolina Districts October 10–11, 1858 6 6 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Indiana Districts October 12, 1858 11 4[g] Decrease2 0 Steady 0 Steady 7 Increase2
Iowa Districts October 12, 1858 2 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 2 Steady
Ohio Districts October 12, 1858 21 6 Decrease3 0 Steady 0 Steady 15 Increase3
Pennsylvania Districts October 12, 1858 25 5[h] Decrease10 0 Steady 0 Steady 20 Increase10
Delaware At-large November 2, 1858
(Election Day)[i]
1 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Illinois Districts 9 5 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 4 Steady
Massachusetts Districts 11 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 11 Steady
Michigan Districts 4 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 4 Steady
New Jersey Districts 5 2[j] Decrease1 0 Steady 0 Steady 3 Increase1
New York Districts 33 7[k] Decrease5 0 Steady 0 Steady 26 Increase5
Wisconsin Districts 3 1 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady 2 Decrease1
Late elections (after the March 4, 1859 beginning of the term)
New Hampshire Districts March 8, 1859 3 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 3 Steady
Connecticut Districts April 4, 1859 4 0 Decrease2 0 Steady 0 Steady 4 Increase2
Rhode Island Districts April 7, 1859 2 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 2 Steady
Virginia Districts May 26, 1859 13 12[l] Decrease1 0 Steady 1 Increase1 0 Steady
Alabama Districts August 1, 1859 7 7 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Kentucky Districts August 1, 1859 10 5 Decrease3 0 Decrease2 5 Increase5 0 Steady
Texas Districts August 1, 1859 2 2[m] Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
North Carolina Districts August 4, 1859 8 4 Decrease3 0 Decrease1 4 Increase4 0 Steady
Tennessee Districts August 4, 1859 10 3 Decrease4 0 Decrease3 7 Increase7 0 Steady
California At-large September 7, 1859 2 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Georgia Districts October 3, 1859 8 6 Steady 0 Decrease2 2 Increase2 0 Steady
Mississippi Districts October 3, 1859 5 5 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Minnesota At-large October 4, 1859 2 0 Decrease2 0 Steady 0 Steady 2 Increase2
Louisiana Districts November 7, 1859 4 3 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Maryland Districts November 8, 1859 6 3 Steady 3 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Kansas [n] At-large December 1, 1859 1 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 1 Increase1
Total 238[o] 98[b]
41.4%
Decrease35 5
2.1%
Decrease9 19
8.0%
Increase19 116
48.5%
Increase26
House seats
Democratic
41.4%
Know Nothing
2.1%
Opposition
8.0%
Republican
48.5%

California

California held its election September 7, 1859. From statehood to 1864, California's representatives were elected at-large, with the top finishers winning election.

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Status Candidates
California at-large
2 seats on a general ticket
Charles L. Scott Democratic 1856 Incumbent re-elected.
Joseph C. McKibbin Anti-Lecompton Democratic 1856 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Democratic hold.

Ohio

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates[12]
Ohio 1 George H. Pendleton Democratic 1856 Incumbent re-elected.
Ohio 2 William S. Groesbeck Democratic 1856 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Ohio 3 Clement L. Vallandigham Democratic 1856[p] Incumbent re-elected.
Ohio 4 Matthias H. Nichols Republican 1852 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Democratic gain.
Ohio 5 Richard Mott Republican 1854 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican hold.
Ohio 6 Joseph R. Cockerill Democratic 1856 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Democratic hold.
Ohio 7 Aaron Harlan Republican 1852 Incumbent lost renomination.
New member elected.
Republican hold.
  • Green tickY Thomas Corwin (Republican) 63.8%
  • Charles W. Blair (Democratic) 36.2%
Ohio 8 Benjamin Stanton Republican 1854 Incumbent re-elected.
Ohio 9 Lawrence W. Hall Democratic 1856 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Ohio 10 Joseph Miller Democratic 1856 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Ohio 11 Albert C. Thompson Republican 1854 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Democratic gain.
Ohio 12 Samuel S. Cox Democratic 1856 Incumbent re-elected.
  • Green tickY Samuel S. Cox (Republican) 51.8%
  • Lucius Case (Democratic) 48.2%
Ohio 13 John Sherman Republican 1854 Incumbent re-elected.
  • Green tickY John Sherman (Republican) 57.1%
  • S. J. Patrick (Democratic) 42.9%
Ohio 14 Philemon Bliss Republican 1854 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican hold.
  • Green tickY Cyrus Spink (Republican) 56.3%
  • J. P. Jeffries (Democratic) 43.7%
Ohio 15 Joseph Burns Democratic 1856 Incumbent lost re-election.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Ohio 16 Cydnor B. Tompkins Republican 1856 Incumbent re-elected.
Ohio 17 William Lawrence Democratic 1856 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican gain.
Ohio 18 Benjamin F. Leiter Republican 1854 Incumbent retired.
New member elected.
Republican hold.
Ohio 19 Edward Wade Republican 1852 Incumbent re-elected.
  • Green tickY Edward Wade (Republican) 65.1%
  • J. W. Gray (Democratic) 34.9%
Ohio 20 Joshua Reed Giddings Republican 1842 Incumbent lost renomination.
New member elected.
Republican hold.
Ohio 21 John Bingham Republican 1854 Incumbent re-elected.
  • Green tickY John Bingham (Republican) 57.3%
  • Thomas Means (Democratic) 42.7%

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Excludes new states.
  2. ^ a b Includes 8 Anti-Lecompton Democrats and 7 Independent Democrats.
  3. ^ See The Kansas-Nebraska act
  4. ^ "Democratic" includes Independent Democrats and Anti-Lecompton Democrats.
  5. ^ New state. Representative seated February 14, 1859.
  6. ^ Includes 1 Independent Democrat.
  7. ^ Includes 1 Anti-Lecompton Democrat.
  8. ^ Includes 2 Anti-Lecompton Democrats.
  9. ^ In January 1845, Congress mandated a uniform date for choosing Presidential electors.[11] Gradually, states brought other elections into conformity with this date.
  10. ^ Includes 2 Anti-Lecompton Democrats.
  11. ^ Includes 1 Independent Democrat and 3 Anti-Lecompton Democrats.
  12. ^ Includes 4 Independent Democrats.
  13. ^ Includes 1 Independent Democrat.
  14. ^ New state. Representative seated January 29, 1861.
  15. ^ An increase of one seat for the new state of Oregon. (See 11 Stat. 383 and United States congressional apportionment.)
  16. ^ Contested election

References

  1. ^ http://mcimaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/36th-Congress.png
  2. ^ https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/congress
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Thirty-fifth Congress March 4, 1857, to March 3, 1859". Office of the Historian, United States House of Representatives. Retrieved February 18, 2019 – via History.house.gov.
  4. ^ a b https://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=232166
  5. ^ a b https://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=537134
  6. ^ https://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=725486
  7. ^ a b c "Thirty-sixth Congress March 4, 1859, to March 3, 1861". Office of the Historian, United States House of Representatives. Retrieved February 18, 2019 – via History.house.gov.
  8. ^ https://www.ourcampaigns.com/ContainerHistory.html?ContainerID=598
  9. ^ 11 Stat. 383
  10. ^ 12 Stat. 126
  11. ^ Stat. 721
  12. ^ Smith, Joseph P, ed. (1898). History of the Republican Party in Ohio. I. Chicago: the Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 84, 85.

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)