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1848 and 1849 United States House of Representatives elections

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.

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

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.

Contents

Election summariesEdit

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

CaliforniaEdit

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.

FloridaEdit

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 alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  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.

ReferencesEdit

  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

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit