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1866 United States House of Representatives elections

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1866 United States House of Representatives elections

← 1864 / 65 June 4, 1866 – September 6, 1867[Note 1] 1868 →

All 224[Note 2] seats in the U.S. House of Representatives
113 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
Schuyler Colfax portrait.jpg
Hon. Samuel S. Marshall, Ill - NARA - 527219.jpg
Leader Schuyler Colfax Samuel Marshall
Party Republican Democratic
Leader's seat Indiana-9th Illinois-11th
Last election 137 seats 38 seats
Seats won 175[Note 3] 47
Seat change Increase 38 Increase 9

  Third party
Nathaniel Boyden - Brady-Handy.jpg
Leader Nathaniel Boyden
Party Conservative Party of Virginia (1867)
Leader's seat North Carolina-6th
Last election 0 seats
Seats won 2
Seat change Increase 2

Map of U.S. House elections results from 1866 elections for 40th Congress

Speaker before election

Schuyler Colfax

Elected Speaker

Schuyler Colfax

Elections to the United States House of Representatives were held in 1866 to elect Representatives to the 40th United States Congress.

The elections occurred just one year after the American Civil War ended when the Union defeated the Confederacy.

The 1866 elections were a decisive event in the early Reconstruction era, in which President Andrew Johnson faced off against the Radical Republicans in a bitter dispute over whether Reconstruction should be lenient or harsh toward the vanquished South.

Most of the congressmen from the former Confederate states were either prevented from leaving the state or were arrested on the way to the capital. A Congress consisting of mostly Radical Republicans sat early in the Capitol and aside from the delegation from Tennessee who were allowed in, the few Southern Congressmen who arrived were not seated.

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>> Well, okay, let's go back to the 14th Amendment. Congress passes it. It's got to go out to three-quarters, it's got to be ratified by three-quarters of the states. The 14th Amendment becomes the issue, you might say, in the congressional elections of 1866. In that year, in that summer, fall, Andrew Johnson, unlike other presidents, takes a leading role in supporting candidates, mostly Democrats, who are in favor of his Reconstruction policy. He tries to form a new political coalition. He has something called the National Union Convention. But very few Republicans are willing to go with him. Most of the people now backing Johnson are Democrats, North and South. Johnson's effort to mobilize support in the North is injured by riots, race riots that break out in the South in the summer of 1866, leading to scores of deaths of African Americans, and of some white people, too. In Memphis, there's the Memphis riot which leads to 50 deaths, virtually all blacks, in a kind of an attack on black homes and black schools. Even worse, the New Orleans riot in the summer of 1866. These are images of the New Orleans riot. People, often police, shooting at black people. The inside of the convention hall. What happened in New Orleans was, if you remember when I was talking about Louisiana in the Civil War, the Reconstruction of Louisiana in the Civil War. They had this constitutional convention, it abolished slavery, didn't give any rights to blacks, but it said it, it authorized the president of the convention to reconvene if desired. And in 1866, with Confederates, basically in control of Louisiana, the old constitutional convention tries to reconvene. And the meeting of that leads to a riot where armed whites are assaulting the building, including the local police now allied with these, you know, ex-Confederates. And something like 40 people are killed, several hundred wounded. And again, the image of the South in Northern eyes that these riots portray, is one -- you know, that they are not willing to accept the results of the Civil War, that there is this violence against African Americans. Local authorities are not willing to do anything about it. The army has to be sent in to put down the violence. And these things really undermine whatever support there was for Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction policy. Johnson breaks with tradition and goes into the North campaigning for congressional candidates who will support his policy. This is unprecedented. The so called "swing around the circle." He travels all around the North, support -- But it turns into an utter disaster. Johnson starts exchanging epithets with people in the audience. People yell things out at him. He starts yelling curses back at them. [laughter] Bantering with the crowd. He's not very dignified as a president, so to speak. He tells the Northern people they're ignorant, they don't really know what's going on in Congress. He becomes more and more self-pitying. He starts comparing himself with Jesus Christ, saying people want kill -- he's willing to sacrifice himself for the nation. [laughter] And by the time the swing around the circle is over, whatever support Johnson had has evaporated. Here's an image of an anti-Johnson, here's an image of, someone wrote on a placard of Johnson, you see, "I am king," and put a little crown on his head. This is a Democratic cartoon. It's from the governor's election in California. This is the Republican candidate for Governor, I believe. But this is overt use of racism in the campaign. It's kind of hard to see. I think it's reproduced in my book, I can't remember. You've got the governor and you've got a black -- this is negro suffrage and what's to come -- you've got the governor, you've got a black guy, on top of him is a Chinese, on top of him is sort of a Native American, you see, with an arrow. And then someone is bringing along a monkey, saying, well, if these guys can vote, let's give monkeys the right to vote. So this is, you see, the absolute overt racism as, you know, the critique of the Radical policy of black -- black suffrage will lead to all these other disasters if followed. Well, the result of the elections, of course, is that the Republicans sweep to way beyond two-thirds control of both houses of Congress, rendering Johnson totally irrelevant. And this leaves the question of the 14th Amendment up in the air, because to get three-quarters of the states, some Southern states are going to have to ratify the 14th Amendment. There are a few leading Southerners, one guy we'll talk about next week, James Alcorn, one of the leading planters of Mississippi, says, you know, it looks like the Northern public actually doesn't support Andrew Johnson, and we better really be prudent here. Why don't we ratify the 14th Amendment. Because Congress had said, if the South ratifies the 14th Amendment, Southern states, they can come back into the Union. And Alcorn says, let's do that, we really have no alternative. But most Southern leaders say, absolutely not, the 14th Amendment is a complete violation of all our liberties. And so, legislature after legislature in the South rejects the 14th Amendment, by overwhelming majorities. In the South Carolina legislature, only one member votes in favor of ratification. In Georgia, only two. The whole South, only 20 or 30, where 700 or 800 legislators vote against it. And they are egged on by Democrats in the North, and they're egged on by Johnson. Johnson keeps saying, don't ratify the 14th Amendment, and they'll never enact black suffrage. He keeps telling the South, don't worry, don't worry. Of course, it happens, two months after he starts saying this, it does happen. And so he's completely out of touch with political reality by this time.



Johnson, a War Democrat, had been elected Vice President in the 1864 presidential election as the running mate of Abraham Lincoln, a Republican. (The Republicans had chosen not to re-nominate Hannibal Hamlin for a second term as Vice President).

Lincoln and Johnson ran together under the banner of the National Union Party, which brought together Republicans (with the exception of some hard-line abolitionist Radical Republicans who backed John C. Frémont, who eventually dropped out of the race after brokering a deal with Lincoln) and the War Democrats (the minority of Democrats who backed Lincoln's prosecution of the war, as opposed to the Peace Democrats, or Copperheads, who favored a negotiated settlement with the Confederates).

After the assassination of Lincoln, Johnson became President. He immediately became embroiled in a dispute with the Radical Republicans over the conditions of Reconstruction; Johnson favored a lenient Reconstruction, while Radical Republicans wanted to continue the military occupation of the South and force Southern states to give freedmen (the newly freed slaves) civil rights (and the right to vote).

Campaign and results

Johnson stumped the country in a public speaking tour known as the Swing Around the Circle; he generally supported Democrats but his speeches were poorly received.

The Republicans won in a landslide, capturing enough seats to override Johnson's vetoes. Only the border states of Delaware, Maryland, and Kentucky voted for Democrats. Recently Reconstructed Tennessee sent a Republican delegation. The other 10 ex-Confederate states did not vote. As a percentage of the total number of seats available in the House of Representatives, the Republican majority attained in the election of 1866 has never been exceeded in any subsequent Congress. The Democratic Party was able to achieve similar success only in the political environment of the era of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Election summaries

Seven former Confederate States were readmitted during this Congress, filling 32 vacancies. There remained 19 vacancies at the end of the 40th Congress, 17 in the three states that had not yet been readmitted, and one vacancy each in Georgia (GA-06) and Kentucky (KY-02) that lasted the entire 40th Congress.[1] (Note: Georgia was readmitted to the House for the 40th Congress, but not to the Senate.)

175 2 47
Republican C Democratic
State Type Date Total
Republican Democratic Others
Seats Change Seats Change Seats Change
Delaware At-large November 6, 1866
(Election Day)[Note 4]
1 0 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady
Illinois District +
1 at-large
14 11 Steady 3 Steady 0 Steady
Kansas At-large 1 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Maryland District 5 1 Increase 1 3 Increase 1 1[Note 5] Decrease 2[Note 6]
Massachusetts District 10 10 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Michigan District 6 6 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Minnesota District 2 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Missouri District 9 8 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady
Nevada At-large 1 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
New Jersey District 5 3 Increase 1 2 Decrease 1 0 Steady
New York District 31 21[Note 3] Increase 1 10 Decrease 1 0 Steady
Wisconsin District 6 5 Steady 1 Steady 0 Steady
Indiana District October 9, 1866 11 8 Decrease 1 3 Increase 1 0 Steady
Iowa District October 9, 1866 6 6 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Maine District September 10, 1866 5 5 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Nebraska At-large October 9, 1866 1 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Ohio District October 9, 1866 19 17 Steady 2 Steady 0 Steady
Oregon At-large June 4, 1866 1 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Pennsylvania District October 9, 1866 24 18 Increase 3 6 Decrease 3 0 Steady
Vermont District September 4, 1866 3 3 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
West Virginia District October 25, 1866 3 3 Increase 3 0 Steady 0 Decrease 3[Note 6]
1867 elections
California District September 6, 1867 3 1 Decrease 2 2 Increase 2 0 Steady
Connecticut District April 1, 1867 4 1 Decrease 3 3 Increase 3 0 Steady
Kentucky District May 4, 1867 9[Note 7] 1 Increase 1 7 Increase 2 0 Decrease 4[Note 8]
New Hampshire District March 12, 1867 3 3 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Rhode Island District April 3, 1867 2 2 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Tennessee District August 3, 1867 8 8 Increase 8 0 Steady 0 Decrease 8[Note 9]
Readmitted States
Alabama District February 4–8, 1868 6 6 Increase 6 0 Steady 0 Steady
Arkansas District March 13, 1868 3 3 Increase 3 0 Steady 0 Steady
Florida At-large May 5, 1868 1 1 Increase 1 0 Steady 0 Steady
Georgia District April 23, 1868 7[Note 7] 4 Increase 4 2 Increase 2 0 Steady
Louisiana District April 8, 1868 5 4 Increase 4 1 Increase 1 0 Steady
North Carolina District April 23, 1868 7 6 Increase 6 0 Steady 1[Note 10] Increase 1
South Carolina District April 14–16, 1868 4 4 Increase 4 0 Steady 0 Steady
Secessionist States not yet readmitted
Mississippi District 5
Texas District October 15, 1866[Note 11] 4
Virginia District 8
Total[Note 2] 224
19 vacancies[Note 12]
175[Note 3]
Increase 38 47
Increase 9 2[Note 13]
Decrease 16[Note 14]
House seats

The party affiliations of the 4 Representatives elected in Texas' rejected elections are unknown.

List of races


District Incumbent Party Elected Result Candidates
California 1 Donald C. MCRuer Republican 1864 Retired
Democratic gain
Samuel Beach Axtell (D) 57.3%
Timothy G. Phelps (R) 42.7%
California 2 William Higby Republican 1862 Re-elected William Higby (R) 52.1%
James W. Coffroth (D) 47.9%
California 3 John Bidwell Republican 1864 Retired
Democratic gain
James A. Johnson (D) 50.6%
Chancellor Hartson (R) 49.4%


Democrats gained one seat this election in Ohio. It was later contested and awarded to the Republican for a net gain of zero.

District Incumbent Party First
Result Candidates[2]
Ohio 1 Benjamin Eggleston Republican 1864 Re-elected
Ohio 2 Rutherford B. Hayes Republican 1864 Re-elected
Ohio 3 Robert C. Schenck Republican 1862 Re-elected
Ohio 4 William Lawrence Republican 1864 Re-elected
Ohio 5 Francis C. Le Blond Democratic 1862 Retired
Democratic hold
Ohio 6 Reader W. Clarke Republican 1864 Re-elected
Ohio 7 Samuel Shellabarger Republican 1864 Re-elected
Ohio 8 James Randolph Hubbell Republican 1864 Retired
Republican hold
Ohio 9 Ralph P. Buckland Republican 1864 Re-elected
Ohio 10 James M. Ashley Republican 1862 Re-elected
Ohio 11 Hezekiah S. Bundy Republican 1864 Retired
Republican hold
Ohio 12 William E. Finck Democratic 1862 Retired
Democratic hold
Ohio 13 Columbus Delano Republican 1864 Lost Re-election
Democratic gain[Note 15]
Ohio 14 Martin Welker Republican 1864 Re-elected
Ohio 15 Tobias A. Plants Republican 1864 Re-elected
Ohio 16 John Bingham Republican 1864 Re-elected
Ohio 17 Ephraim R. Eckley Republican 1862 Re-elected
Ohio 18 Rufus P. Spalding Republican 1862 Re-elected
Ohio 19 James A. Garfield Republican 1862 Re-elected

See also


  1. ^ Excludes states readmitted after the start of Congress.
  2. ^ a b Including late elections.
  3. ^ a b c Includes 1 Independent Republican, Lewis Selye, elected to NY-28, and 1 Conservative Republican, Thomas E. Stewart, elected to NY-06.
  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. ^ One Conservative member, Charles E. Phelps, elected to MD-03.
  6. ^ a b Previous election had 3 Unionists.
  7. ^ a b One seat remained vacant throughout the 40th Congress.
  8. ^ Previous election had 4 Unionists.
  9. ^ 8 Unionists in previous election.
  10. ^ One Conservative member, Nathaniel Boyden, elected to NC-06.
  11. ^ Rejected.
  12. ^ After readmission of 7 States.
  13. ^ Both Conservatives.
  14. ^ Previous election had 18 Unionists.
  15. ^ a b c Morgan (D) was initially seated (and thus is counted towards the party totals at this article), but the election was contested and the seat was subsequently awarded to Delano (R) during the 40th Congress' second session.


  1. ^ Martis, pp. 120–121; Dubin, p. 209.
  2. ^ Smith, Joseph P, ed. (1898). History of the Republican Party in Ohio. I. Chicago: the Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 228, 229.


External links

This page was last edited on 14 June 2019, at 03:58
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