1857 Massachusetts gubernatorial election

The 1857 Massachusetts gubernatorial election was held on November 3. Incumbent Know-Nothing Governor Henry J. Gardner ran for a fourth term in office, but lost the support of the Republican Party, which nominated Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nathaniel P. Banks. Banks prevailed over Gardner to become the first Republican Governor of Massachusetts.

1857 Massachusetts gubernatorial election

← 1856 November 3, 1857 (1857-11-03) 1858 →
  Nathaniel Banks pre-war (cropped).jpg GovHenryJGardner.jpg 3x4.svg
Nominee Nathaniel Banks Henry J. Gardner Erasmus Beach
Party Republican Know Nothing Democratic
Popular vote 60,797 37,596 31,760
Percentage 46.58% 28.81% 24.33%

Governor before election

Henry J. Gardner
Know Nothing

Elected Governor

Nathaniel Prentiss Banks

Gardner's loss also began an informal tradition of no Governor serving more than three consecutive one-year terms, which persisted until 1920, when the Governor's term was extended to two years. The only exception to this tradition was made for Governor John Albion Andrew, who held office during the Civil War.

General electionEdit


  • Nathaniel Prentiss Banks, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (Republican)
  • Erasmus Beach, nominee for Governor in 1855 and 1856 (Democratic)
  • Henry J. Gardner, incumbent Governor (American)
  • Caleb Swan ("Straight Republican")


1857 Massachusetts gubernatorial election[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Nathaniel Prentiss Banks 60,797 46.58% N/A
Know-Nothing Henry J. Gardner (incumbent) 37,596 28.81%  30.11
Democratic Erasmus D. Beach 31,760 24.33%  1.21
Independent Republican Caleb Swan 213 0.16%   3.43
Total votes 130,366 100.00%
Republican gain from Know Nothing Swing

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Dubin, Michael J. (2003). United States Gubernatorial Elections, 1776-1860: The Official Results by State and County. Jefferson: McFarland & Company. p. 119. ISBN 9780786414390.