1850 and 1851 United States House of Representatives elections

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1850 and 1851 United States House of Representatives elections

← 1848 / 49 August 5, 1850 – November 4, 1851 1852 / 53 →

All 233 seats to the United States House of Representatives
117 seats were needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party Third party
  LinnBoyd.jpg Edward Stanly by Brady.jpg Alexander Stephens -1855.jpg
Leader Linn Boyd Edward Stanly Alexander H. Stephens
Party Democratic Whig Unionist
Leader's seat Kentucky-1st North Carolina-8th Georgia-7th
Last election 113 seats 108 seats 0 seats
Seats won 130[Note 1] 86[Note 2] 10
Seat change Increase 17 Decrease 22 Increase 10

  Fourth party Fifth party
  Giddings brady 1955-65rr.jpg Albert G. Brown - Brady-Handy.jpg
Leader Joshua Reed Giddings Albert G. Brown
Party Free Soil States' Rights
Leader's seat Ohio-20th Mississippi-4th
Last election 9 seats 0 seats
Seats won 4 3
Seat change Decrease 5 Increase 3

Speaker before election

Howell Cobb
Democratic

Elected Speaker

Linn Boyd
Democratic

Elections to the United States House of Representatives for the 32nd Congress were held at various dates in different states from August 1850 to November 1851. The Democrats gained 17 seats, increasing their majority relative to the rival Whigs, who lost 22 seats.

Whig President Millard Fillmore, who succeeded to the Presidency in July 1850 after the death of Zachary Taylor, lacked a strong political base. Sectionalism and slavery were increasingly prominent, but not yet politically critical, issues; the Compromise of 1850 was a short-term success in beginning the constructive disposal of the Mexican Cession, but the admission of California as the 31st state augured a future free-soil West. Lingering Southern unhappiness with the results of the Compromise and a sense of foreboding helped motivate later sectional and political conflict over Kansas.

The Unionist Party, formed in support of the Compromise of 1850, gained 10 seats in the South, as did the States' Rights Party; the abolitionist Free Soil Party lost five seats and was reduced to four Representatives, all in New England.

Election summaries[edit]

130 10 3 4 86
Democratic Unionist SR FS Whig
State Type Date Total
seats
Democratic Whig Unionist Free Soil States' Rights
Seats Change Seats Change Seats Change Seats Change Seats Change
Iowa District August 5, 1850 2 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Missouri District August 5, 1850 5 2 Decrease3 3 Increase3 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Vermont District September 3, 1850 4 1 Steady 3 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Maine District September 9, 1850 7 5 Steady 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Florida At-large October 7, 1850 1 0 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Ohio District October 8, 1850 21 11[Note 3] Steady 9 Increase1 0 Steady 1 Decrease1 0 Steady
Pennsylvania District October 8, 1850 24[Note 4] 15 Increase6 9 Decrease4 0 Steady 0 Decrease1 0 Steady
South Carolina District October 14–15, 1850 7 7 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Illinois District November 5, 1850
(Election Day)[Note 5]
7 6 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Michigan District 3 1 Decrease1 2 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
New Jersey District 5 4 Increase3 1 Decrease3 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
New York District 34 17 Increase16 17 Decrease15 0 Steady 0 Decrease1 0 Steady
Wisconsin District 3 2[Note 3] Increase1 0 Decrease1 0 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady
Massachusetts District November 11, 1850 10[Note 6] 1 Increase1 7 Decrease1 0 Steady 2 Increase1 0 Steady
Delaware At-large November 12, 1850 1 1 Increase1 0 Decrease1 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
1851 elections
New Hampshire District March 11, 1851 4 2 Steady 2 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Decrease1 0 Steady
Rhode Island District April 2, 1851 2 1 Increase1 1 Decrease1 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Connecticut District April 7, 1851 4 3 Increase1 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Decrease1 0 Steady
Alabama District August 4, 1851 7 4 Decrease1 2 Steady 1 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady
Arkansas At-large August 4, 1851 1 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Indiana District August 4, 1851 10 8 Steady 2 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Decrease1 0 Steady
Kentucky District August 4, 1851 10 5 Increase1 5 Decrease1 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Texas District August 4, 1851 2 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
North Carolina District August 7, 1851 9 3 Steady 6 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Tennessee District August 7, 1851 11 7[Note 3] Steady 4 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
California At-large September 3, 1851 2[Note 7] 2 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Maryland District October 1, 1851 6 2 Decrease1 4[Note 2] Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Georgia District October 6, 1851 8 0 Decrease4 0 Decrease4 6 Increase6 0 Steady 2 Increase2
Virginia District October 23, 1851 15 13 Steady 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Mississippi District November 3–4, 1851 4 0 Decrease4 0 Steady 3 Increase3 0 Steady 1 Increase1
Louisiana District November 4, 1851 4 2 Decrease1 2 Increase1 0 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Total 233 130[Note 1]
55.8%
Increase17 86[Note 2]
36.9%
Decrease22 10
4.3%
Increase10 4
1.7%
Decrease5 3
1.3%
Increase3
House seats
Democratic
55.79%
Whig
36.91%
Unionist
4.29%
Free Soil
1.72%
Others
1.29%

One district in Massachusetts had been vacant in the 31st Congress. No new seats were added; the previous election had 1 Know-Nothing and 1 Independent

California[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
California at-large George W. Wright Independent 1849 Incumbent retired.
New representative elected late September 3, 1851.
Democratic gain.
Edward C. Marshall (Democratic)
Joseph W. McCorkle (Democratic)
Edward Gilbert Democratic 1849 Incumbent retired.
New representative elected late September 3, 1851.
Democratic hold.

Florida[edit]

District Incumbent Party First
elected
Result Candidates
Florida at-large Edward C. Cabell Whig 1846 Incumbent re-elected October 7, 1850. Edward C. Cabell (Whig) 52.8%
John Beard (Democratic)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Includes three Independent Democrats from Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
  2. ^ a b c Includes 1 Independent Whig.
  3. ^ a b c Includes one Independent Democrat.
  4. ^ There was 1 Know-Nothing in the 31st Congress.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ One seat (MA-04) had been vacant during the entire 31st Congress.
  7. ^ There was 1 Independent in the 31st Congress.

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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[edit]