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15th United States Congress

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

15th United States Congress
14th ←
→ 16th
The Old Brick Capitol, the temporary Capitol while the U.S. Capitol was being renovated after the Burning of Washington. (pictured here around 1861 in use as a Civil War prison)

March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1819
Members42 senators
185 representatives
3 non-voting delegates
Senate majorityDemocratic-Republican
Senate PresidentDaniel D. Tompkins (DR)
House majorityDemocratic-Republican
House SpeakerHenry Clay (DR)
Special: March 4, 1817 – March 6, 1817
1st: December 1, 1817 – April 20, 1818
2nd: November 16, 1818 – March 3, 1819

The 15th United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in the Old Brick Capitol in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1817, to March 4, 1819, during the first two years of James Monroe's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the 1810 United States census. Both chambers had a Democratic-Republican majority.

Letter of December 1818

Two major treaties with the United Kingdom were approved, finalized and signed during the 15th Congress, both the Rush–Bagot Treaty and the Treaty of 1818, both of which pertained to the United States-Canada border, and both of which were overwhelmingly popular in the United States. President James Monroe and Secretary of State John Quincy Adams were credited with the accomplishments. A letter signed by many members of congress expressing "Gratitude, amity and brotherhood with Great Britain" was addressed to British Prime Minister Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool, British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst, British foreign secretary Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh and Britain's minister plenipotentiary and envoy extraordinaire to the United States Charles Bagot. The letter also attacked King Louis XVIII of France for insulting remarks he had made towards American diplomats and about the United States, as well as his refusal to pay reparations owed to the United States from damages incurred during the Quasi-War. The letter was signed in December 1818 by Joel Abbot, Thomas W. Cobb, Zadock Cook, Joel Crawford, John Forsyth, William Terrell, Charles Tait, William Smith, John Gaillard, Henry Middleton, William Lowndes, James Ervin, Joseph Bellinger, Starling Tucker, Eldred Simkins, Elias Earle, Wilson Nesbitt, Stephen Decatur Miller, Montfort Stokes, Nathaniel Macon, Lemuel Sawyer, Joseph Hunter Bryan, Thomas H. Hall, Jesse Slocumb, James Owen, Weldon Nathaniel Edwards, James Stewart, James Strudwick Smith, Thomas Settle, George Mumford, Daniel Munroe Forney, Felix Walker, Lewis Williams, John J. Crittenden, Isham Talbot, David Trimble, Henry Clay, Richard Mentor Johnson, Joseph Desha, Anthony New, David Walker, George Robertson, Richard Clough Anderson Jr., Tunstall Quarles, Thomas Speed, William Hendricks, James Noble, Waller Taylor, John Eaton, John Williams, John Rhea, William Grainger Blount, Francis Jones, Samuel E. Hogg, Thomas Claiborne, George W.L. Marr, George Poindexter, Prentiss Mellen, Harrison Gray Otis, Enoch Lincoln, Jonathan Mason, Nathaniel Silsbee, Jeremiah Nelson, Timothy Fuller, Elijah H. Mills, Samuel Clesson Allen, Henry Shaw, Zabdiel Sampson, Walter Folger Jr., Marcus Morton, Benjamin Adams, Solomon Strong, Nathaniel Ruggles, John Holmes, Ezekiel Whitman, Benjamin Orr, John Wilson, Thomas Rice, Joshua Gage and Albion Parris, all of whom also voted to ratify both of the aforementioned treaties. Several governors also signed the letter, which was entirely symbolic and intended as a gesture of goodwill, including Gabriel Slaughter, William Rabun, John Geddes, John Branch, John Brooks, James Patton Preston and David Holmes. This was significant because the governors and the members of congress were from different regions (both Massachusetts and several southern states were represented), and because signers came from both the Whig Party and the Democratic-Republicans.[1][2][3][4] Many members of congress and Washington DC had a very hostile relationship with France's notoriously combative ambassador Jean-Guillaume, baron Hyde de Neuville, which contributed to the letters contents as per France.[5]

Major events

Major legislation


States admitted and territories created

Party summary

The count below identifies party affiliations at the beginning of the first session of this congress. Changes resulting from subsequent replacements are shown below in the "Changes in membership" section.


During this congress, two Senate seats were added for each of the new states of Mississippi and Illinois.

(shading shows control)
Total Vacant

End of previous congress 25 13 38 0
Begin 25 13 38 0
End 28 12 402
Final voting share 70.0% 30.0%
Beginning of next congress 29 9 38 4

House of Representatives

During this congress, one House seat was added for each of the new states of Mississippi and Illinois.

(shading shows control)
Total Vacant

End of previous congress 136 46 182 1
Begin 141 39 180 3
End 144 40 1841
Final voting share 78.3% 21.7%
Beginning of next congress 158 25 183 2


President of the Senate
Daniel D. Tompkins
Speaker of the House
Henry Clay


House of Representatives


This list is arranged by chamber, then by state. Senators are listed by class and representatives are listed by district.

Skip to House of Representatives, below


Senators were elected by the state legislatures every two years, with one-third beginning new six-year terms with each Congress. Preceding the names in the list below are Senate class numbers, which indicate the cycle of their election. In this Congress, Class 1 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring re-election in 1820; Class 2 meant their term began with this Congress, requiring re-election in 1822; and Class 3 meant their term ended with this Congress, requiring re-election in 1818.

House of Representatives

The names of members of the House of Representatives are preceded by their district numbers.

Changes in membership

The count below reflects changes from the beginning of the first session of this Congress.


Senate changes
Vacated by Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation[a]
New Hampshire
Jeremiah Mason (F) Resigned June 16, 1817 Clement Storer (DR) Seated June 27, 1817
Dudley Chase (DR) Resigned November 3, 1817, to become Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court James Fisk (DR) Seated November 4, 1817
William C. C. Claiborne (DR) Died November 23, 1817 Henry Johnson (DR) Seated January 12, 1818
New seats Mississippi was admitted to the Union on December 10, 1817 Walter Leake (DR) Installed December 10, 1817
Thomas H. Williams (DR)
James Fisk (DR) Resigned January 8, 1818, to become Vermont Collector of Customs.
Winner elected October 20, 1818.
William A. Palmer (DR) Seated October 20, 1818
George W. Campbell (DR) Resigned April 20, 1818, to become Ambassador to Russia John Eaton (DR) Seated September 5, 1818
Eli P. Ashmun (F) Resigned May 10, 1818.
Winner elected June 5, 1818.
Prentiss Mellen (F) Seated June 5, 1818
George Troup (DR) Resigned September 23, 1818, to run for Governor of Georgia.
Winner elected September 23, 1818.
John Forsyth (DR) Seated November 23, 1818
New seats Illinois was admitted to the Union on December 3, 1818. Jesse B. Thomas (DR) Installed December 3, 1818
Ninian Edwards (DR)
John Forsyth (DR) Resigned February 17, 1819, to become U.S. Minister to Spain.
Winner was elected in the next Congress.
Not filled until next Congress
John J. Crittenden (DR) Resigned March 3, 1819, to return to private practice.
Winner was elected in the next Congress.

House of Representatives

House changes
District Vacated by Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation[a]
New York 4 Vacant Member-elect Henry B. Lee died before this Congress began James Tallmadge Jr. (DR) Seated June 6, 1817
Missouri Territory at-large Vacant Seat remained vacant from March 4, 1817, to August 4, 1817 John Scott Seated August 4, 1817
Pennsylvania 10 Vacant Member-elect David Scott resigned before this Congress began John Murray (DR) Seated October 14, 1817
North Carolina 7 Vacant Member-elect Alexander McMillan died before this Congress began James Stewart (F) Seated January 5, 1818
South Carolina 6 John C. Calhoun (DR) Resigned November 3, 1817, after being appointed United States Secretary of War Eldred Simkins (DR) Seated January 24, 1818
Mississippi Territory at-large Vacant Seat remained vacant until Mississippi was admitted to the Union December 10, 1817 George Poindexter (DR) Seated December 10, 1817
Mississippi at-large
Connecticut at-large Uriel Holmes (F) Resigned sometime in 1818 Sylvester Gilbert (DR) Seated November 16, 1818
North Carolina 11 Daniel Forney (DR) Resigned sometime in 1818 William Davidson (F) Seated December 2, 1818
Alabama Territory at-large Vacant The first delegate from this new territory was not seated until January 29, 1818. John Crowell Seated January 29, 1818
Massachusetts 20 Albion K. Parris (DR Resigned February 3, 1818 Enoch Lincoln (DR) Seated November 4, 1818
Virginia 19 Peterson Goodwyn (DR) Died February 21, 1818 John Pegram (DR) Seated April 21, 1818
Pennsylvania 6 John Ross (DR) Resigned February 24, 1818, to become President Judge of Pennsylvania's 7th Judicial Circuit Thomas J. Rogers (DR) Seated March 3, 1818
Louisiana at-large Thomas B. Robertson (DR) Resigned April 20, 1818 Thomas Butler (DR) Seated November 16, 1818
Pennsylvania 4 Jacob Spangler (DR) Resigned April 20, 1818 Jacob Hostetter (DR) Seated November 16, 1818
Pennsylvania 6 Samuel D. Ingham (DR) Resigned July 6, 1818 Samuel Moore (DR) Seated October 13, 1818
Georgia at-large John Forsyth (DR) Resigned November 23, 1818, after being elected to the U.S. Senate Robert R. Reid (DR) Seated February 18, 1819
Illinois Territory at-large Nathaniel Pope Pope's term ended November 30, 1818, and the seat remained vacant until Illinois was admitted to the Union December 3, 1818 John McLean (DR) Seated December 3, 1818
Illinois at-large
North Carolina 10 George Mumford (DR) Died December 31, 1818 Charles Fisher (DR) Seated February 11, 1819
Vermont at-large Heman Allen (DR) resigned April 20, 1818 Vacant


Lists of committees and their party leaders.


House of Representatives

Joint committees


Legislative branch agency directors


House of Representatives

See also


  1. ^ a b When seated or oath administered, not necessarily when service began.


  1. ^ The American Response to Canada Since 1776 by Gordon T. Stewart
  2. ^ John Quincy Adams: Policymaker for the Union by James E. Lewis Jr.
  3. ^ The Undefended Border: The Myth and the Reality by Charles Perry Stacey, Canadian Historical Association, 1967
  4. ^ The American Entente by Robert Balmain Moway pg. 41-45
  5. ^ America in the French mind during the Bourbon Restoration by John deWitt MacBride 1955 pg. 45-46
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1982). The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.

External links

This page was last edited on 4 March 2024, at 21:56
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