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1868 and 1869 United States House of Representatives elections

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1868 and 1869 United States House of Representatives elections

← 1866 / 1867 June 1, 1868 – August 2, 1869[a][b] 1870 / 1871 →

All 243[c] seats in the U.S. House of Representatives
122 seats needed for a majority
  Majority party Minority party
Michael C. Kerr - Brady-Handy.jpg
Leader James Blaine Michael Kerr
Party Republican Democratic
Leader's seat Maine 3rd Indiana 3rd
Last election 175 seats 47 seats
Seats won 171 67
Seat change Decrease 4 Increase 20

  Third party
Party Conservative
Last election 2 seats
Seats won 5
Seat change Increase 3

Map of U.S. House elections results from 1868 elections for 41st Congress

Speaker before election

Theodore M. Pomeroy

Elected Speaker

James Blaine

Elections to the United States House of Representatives were held in 1868 to elect Representatives to the 41st United States Congress. The election coincided with the presidential election of 1868, which was won by Ulysses S. Grant.

The Democrats gained 20 seats, but Grant's Republican Party retained a commanding majority in the Reconstruction era following the American Civil War, holding onto a firm legitimacy through an association with victory. As more Southern states exited Reconstruction, more Democratic seats appeared in the South. However, Democratic gains in the South were limited, as the Republican power-brokers of Reconstruction held a great deal of influence. The small Conservative Party of Virginia also picked up several seats in Virginia, as it had support among wealthy Southern leaders who wanted to increase the region's power.

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    10 017
    3 141 277
    7 169
    14 028
  • ✪ Andrew Johnson: First Impeached (1865 - 1869)
  • ✪ Reconstruction and 1876: Crash Course US History #22
  • ✪ Reconstruction Part II: The KKK, 15th Amendment, Legacy - APUSH & US EOC
  • ✪ Impeached! The Rise and Fall of Andrew Johnson (Lecture)
  • ✪ 3D Stereoscopic Photos of Pennsylvania Congressmen During the American Civil War (1860's)


Professor Dave here, let’s discuss Andrew Johnson. Andrew Johnson ascended to the Presidency after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He was a Southern Democrat, chosen by Lincoln to be the 1864 vice presidential nominee, and he presided over the post-war era Lincoln did not live to see. Unfortunately, Johnson’s views on reconstruction were arguably at odds with Lincoln’s vision for the South, and he became the first president to be impeached. He was born into poverty in Raleigh, North Carolina, and apprenticed as a tailor, settling in Greeneville, Tennessee. There he served as alderman and mayor before he was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives and then the House of Representatives in 1843, where he served for ten years. He became Governor of Tennessee for four years, and was elected to the Senate in 1857, where he fought for passage of the Homestead Bill. When the bill was finally passed as the Homestead Act in 1862, it opened public lands in the West to settlement. As the Civil War broke out in 1861, Tennessee seceded from the Union to join the other Southern slave states forming the Confederacy, yet Johnson refused to resign his Senate seat, becoming the only Senator from a Confederate state who didn’t quit upon his state’s secession. In 1862, Lincoln appointed him military governor of Tennessee, and in 1864, Johnson, as a War Democrat and Southern Unionist, was a logical choice as running mate for Lincoln, who wanted to project an image of national unity in his re-election campaign. The night before he was sworn in, Johnson attended a party in his honor; and drank heavily. Hung over the following morning at the Capitol, he asked Vice President Hannibal Hamlin for some whiskey. Hamlin produced a bottle, and Johnson took two stiff drinks, stating “I need all the strength for the occasion I can have.” In the Senate Chamber, Johnson delivered a rambling address as Lincoln, the Congress, and dignitaries looked on. Almost incoherent at times, he finally meandered to a stop, and Hamlin hastily swore him in as vice president. Lincoln, who had watched sadly during the debacle, was sworn in, and delivered his acclaimed Second Inaugural Address. Johnson later secluded himself to avoid public ridicule. Nevertheless, Lincoln defended him, saying, “I have known Andy Johnson for many years; he made a bad slip the other day, but you need not be scared; Andy ain’t a drunkard.” On the afternoon of April 14th, 1865, Lincoln and Johnson met for the first time since the inauguration. Johnson supposedly urged Lincoln not to be too lenient with traitors. That night, John Wilkes Booth fatally shot President Lincoln. This was part of a conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln, Johnson, and Secretary of State Seward on the same night. Seward barely survived his wounds, while Johnson’s would-be assassin, George Atzerodt, lost his nerve and got drunk instead of killing the vice president. Hearing of Lincoln’s shooting, Johnson rushed to the President’s deathbed, where he vowed, “They shall suffer for this.” Lincoln died the next morning, and Andrew Johnson was sworn in. The assassination of Lincoln caused suspicion that Johnson was aware of the plot even though Atzerodt never said anything to support such a charge. Yet it was discovered that on the day of the assassination, John Wilkes Booth went to Johnson’s residence and left his card with the inscription, “Are you at home? Don't wish to disturb you. J. Wilkes Booth,” and ever since, conspiracy theorists have had a field day claiming Johnson knew of the plot. Controversially, Johnson permitted the execution of boarding house owner Mary Surratt for her part in Lincoln’s assassination. Surratt was executed along with Atzerodt, David Herold, and Lewis Powell on July 7th, 1865. As President, Johnson implemented his version of Reconstruction – a series of proclamations directing the seceded states to hold conventions and elections to reform their civil governments. He sought a swift restoration of the states, once loyal citizens formed a government. He attempted to wrest political power from the Southern planter class and give it to the common man, magnifying the Jacksonian ideal. And he hoped to recreate a Democratic coalition in the South that would ensure his re-election. When Johnson set timetables for elections in the South, there was no mention of black suffrage. To Johnson, black suffrage was a distraction; it had always been a state responsibility to decide who should vote, and Johnson feared that freed slaves, many still economically bound to their former masters, might simply vote at their direction. Northern Democrats were opposed to black suffrage, seeing it as a threat to their party’s control in the South. And the radical republicans of the North, determined to make the South acknowledge its defeat and improve the lives of African-Americans, failed to convince Johnson that black suffrage should be a priority. The North tolerated Johnson’s inaction regarding black suffrage if it hastened reunification. But this hesitancy emboldened the South, and soon, most of the Southern states had elected many of their old racist leaders. Restrictive legislation called “Black Codes,” deprived free African-Americans of their civil liberties and indentured them into working on the plantations of their former masters. Northerners were outraged at the idea of unrepentant Confederate leaders rejoining the federal government while the memory of the war’s savagery still remained fresh, and they viewed the Black Codes as little more than slavery. Congressional Republicans refused to seat legislators from those states and advanced legislation to overrule the Southern actions. Though Congress was initially reluctant to confront the president, Johnson was convinced that winning a showdown with the Radical Republicans would be advantageous for the success of Reconstruction as well as his chances for re-election in 1868. It was a miscalculation of colossal proportions, compounded by a speech Johnson gave claiming that Radical Republicans were plotting his assassination. The final nail in Johnson’s political coffin was his veto of the Civil Rights Bill of 1866 that affirmed all Americans have equal rights under the law. Congress passed it again, Johnson vetoed it again, and then his veto was overridden. He also vetoed a bill that extended the life of the Freedmen’s Bureau, a government agency that monitored labor relations between whites and blacks on former slave plantations and helped former slaves locate lost family members. From this point, Johnson had lost support of certain Republicans yet had gained little Southern support for his actions. It was the crucial blunder of his presidency. His repeated vetoes of the Civil Rights Bill convinced Republicans they could no longer work with him. Johnson’s greatest character flaw was his inordinate stubbornness; a hardheaded resistance to compromise that bordered on the delusional. Johnson opposed the Fourteenth Amendment that gave citizenship to former slaves, and in 1866 he went on a disastrous national tour to promote his policies. He sought popular support for his programs, hoping it would help him combat his growing Republican detractors. It was a fiasco, and he continued to turn public opinion against him. The anti-Johnson Republican Congressional candidates won in a landslide. The conflict between Johnson and Congress continued to grow as Johnson vetoed the admission of Kansas into the Union, and Congress again overrode his veto. Yet bizarrely, with all evidence to the contrary, Johnson continued to think he was in a strong position, though by this point even the Southern Democrats were turning against him as his home state of Tennessee ratified the 14th Amendment. In January 1867, abolitionist Congressman Thaddeus Stevens introduced legislation to dissolve the Southern state governments and reconstitute them into five military districts under martial law. The states would begin again by holding constitutional conventions and African-Americans could vote for or become delegates but former Confederates could not. In the legislative process, Congress added to the bill that restoration to the Union would follow the state’s ratification of the 14th Amendment and Constitutional adoption. Johnson attempted a compromise, whereby the South would agree to a modified version of the amendment without the disqualification of former Confederates, and included limited black suffrage. The Republicans insisted on the full language of the amendment, and the deal fell through. Johnson vetoed it on March 2nd, 1867, but Congress overruled the veto. A Constitutional crisis loomed as Johnson attempted to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, who Johnson felt was undermining his Reconstruction policies. Johnson waited until Congress was in summer recess and dismissed Stanton, replacing him with General Ulysses S. Grant. Johnson notified Congress of Stanton’s suspension and Grant’s interim appointment. In January 1868, the Senate reinstated Stanton, contending the President had violated the Tenure of Office Act, which restricted the president from removing certain office-holders without Senate approval. Grant stepped down, over Johnson’s objections, causing a total break between them. Johnson then dismissed Stanton and appointed Lorenzo Thomas to replace him. Stanton refused to leave and on February 24th, 1868, the House impeached the President by a vote of 128 to 47, alleging he had questioned the legitimacy of Congress. Johnson’s defense relied on the provision of the Tenure of Office Act that made it applicable only to appointees of the current administration. Since Lincoln had appointed Stanton, the defense maintained the president had not violated the act, also arguing that the President had the right to test the Constitutionality of an act of Congress. Johnson’s counsel wisely insisted he make no appearance at the trial, nor comment about the proceedings, and but for a pair of interviews, he complied and was eventually acquitted by a single vote. His term was nearly at an end, and the Republicans were already preparing for their convention where Ulysses S. Grant would be the nominee. Not all of Johnson’s Administration was involved with Reconstruction or such high drama. Expansionist Secretary of State William Seward had been allowed free reign to conduct foreign policy, and in 1867 he negotiated a sale with Russia to purchase its North American colony of Alaska for seven million dollars. Though ridiculed at the time as “Seward’s Folly,” it has since justified its hefty price tag many times over. Returning to Tennessee after his presidency, Johnson sought political vindication and gained it, at least in his eyes, when he was elected to the Senate in 1875 - the only former president to serve there. But he died just months later, never truly getting a second chance. Historians rank Johnson among the worst American presidents for his needless provocations of Congress that led to impeachment and his opposition to Constitutionally guaranteed rights for African Americans.


Special elections

There were special elections in 1868 and 1869 to the 40th United States Congress and 41st United States Congress.

Special elections are sorted by date then district.

40th Congress

District Incumbent This race
Representative Party First elected Results Candidates
Florida at-large None State readmitted.
New member elected May 5, 1868.
Republican gain.
Winner was seated July 1, 1868[1]
Winner was later re-elected to the next term.
South Carolina 1

Election summaries

Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia were readmitted during this Congress, leaving Congress without vacant State delegations for the first time since 1860. Georgia had been partially readmitted in the previous Congress, but was not initially admitted to the 41st Congress. With Georgia's final readmission in 1870, all former Confederate states were once more represented in Congress.

67 5 171
Democratic [d] Republican
State Type Total
Democratic Conservative Republican
Seats Change Seats Change Seats Change
Alabama[e] District 6 2 Increase 2 0 Steady 4 Decrease 2
Arkansas District 3 1 Increase 1 0 Steady 2 Decrease 1
California District 3 2 Steady 0 Steady 1 Steady
Connecticut[e] District 4 1 Decrease 2 0 Steady 3 Increase 2
Delaware At-large 1 1 Steady 0 Steady 0 Steady
Florida[f] At-large 1 0 Steady 0 Steady 1 Steady
Georgia[g] District 7[h] 4 Increase 2 0 Steady 3 Decrease 1
Illinois District
+ 1 at-large
14 4 Increase 1 0 Steady 10 Decrease 1
Indiana[f] District 11 4 Increase 1 0 Steady 7 Decrease 1
Iowa[f] District 6 0 Steady 0 Steady 6 Steady
Kansas At-large 1 0 Steady 0 Steady 1 Steady
Kentucky District 9[h] 9 Increase 2 0 Steady 0 Decrease 1
Louisiana District 5 0 Decrease 1 0 Steady 5 Increase 1
Maine[f] District 5 0 Steady 0 Steady 5 Steady
Maryland District 5 5 Increase 2 0 Decrease 1 0 Decrease 1
Massachusetts District 10 0 Steady 0 Steady 10 Steady
Michigan District 6 0 Steady 0 Steady 6 Steady
Minnesota District 2 1 Increase 1 0 Steady 1 Decrease 1
Mississippi[g] District 5 0 Steady 0 Steady 5 Increase 5
Missouri District 9 2 Increase 1 0 Steady 7 Decrease 1
Nebraska[f] At-large 1 0 Steady 0 Steady 1 Steady
Nevada At-large 1 0 Steady 0 Steady 1 Steady
New Hampshire[e] District 3 0 Steady 0 Steady 3 Steady
New Jersey District 5 3 Increase 1 0 Steady 2 Decrease 1
New York District 31 12 Increase 2 0 Steady 19 Decrease 2
North Carolina District 7 1 Increase 1 0 Decrease 1 6 Steady
Ohio[f] District 19 6 Increase 3 0 Steady 13 Decrease 3
Oregon[f] At-large 1 1 Increase 1 0 Steady 0 Decrease 1
Pennsylvania[f] District 24 6 Steady 0 Steady 18 Steady
Rhode Island District 2 0 Steady 0 Steady 2 Steady
South Carolina District 4 0 Steady 0 Steady 4 Steady
Tennessee District 8 0 Steady 0 Steady 8 Steady
Texas[g] District 4 1 Increase 1 0 Steady 3 Increase 3
Vermont[f] District 3 0 Steady 0 Steady 3 Steady
Virginia[g] District 8 0 Steady 5 Increase 5 3 Increase 3
West Virginia[f] District 3 0 Steady 0 Steady 3 Steady
Wisconsin District 6 1 Steady 0 Steady 5 Steady
Total[c] 243 67
Increase 22 5
Increase 3 171
Decrease 6
House seats

Election dates

Mississippi had held rejected elections on July 1, 1868.

In 1845, Congress passed a law providing for a uniform nationwide date for choosing Presidential electors. This law did not affect election dates for Congress, which remained within the jurisdiction of State governments, but over time, the States moved their Congressional elections to that date. 1868 was the first year in which the majority of States (20 of 37) held their elections on that date. There were still 9 states which held elections before that date and 4 that held regular elections after that date, in addition to 4 readmitted states that held elections after that date


District Incumbent This race
Representative Party First elected Results Candidates
California 1 Samuel Beach Axtell Democratic 1867 Re-elected
California 2 William Higby Republican 1863 Lost renomination
Republican hold
California 3 James A. Johnson Democratic 1867 Re-elected


District Incumbent This race
Representative Party First elected Results Candidates
Florida at-large Charles M. Hamilton Republican 1868[i] Re-elected
  • Green tickY Charles M. Hamilton (Republican) 56.4%
  • W. D. Barnes (Democratic) 38.5%
  • William U. Saunders (Independent) 5.1%


District Incumbent This race
Representative Party First elected Results Candidates
Massachusetts 1
Massachusetts 2
Massachusetts 3
Massachusetts 4
Massachusetts 5
Massachusetts 6
Massachusetts 7
Massachusetts 8
Massachusetts 9
Massachusetts 10 Henry L. Dawes Republican 1856 Incumbent re-elected.[2]


District Incumbent This race
Representative Party First elected Results Candidates[3]
Ohio 1 Benjamin Eggleston Republican 1864 Lost Re-election
Democratic gain
Ohio 2 Samuel F. Cary Ind-Republican 1867 (s) Lost Re-election
Republican hold
Ohio 3 Robert C. Schenck Republican 1862 Re-elected
Ohio 4 William Lawrence Republican 1864 Re-elected
Ohio 5 William Mungen Democratic 1866 Re-elected
Ohio 6 Reader W. Clarke Republican 1864 Retired
Republican hold
Ohio 7 Samuel Shellabarger Republican 1864 Retired
Republican hold
Ohio 8 John Beatty Republican 1868 (s) Re-elected
  • John Beatty (Republican) 52.0%
  • John H. Benson (Democratic) 48.0%
Ohio 9 Ralph P. Buckland Republican 1864 Retired
Democratic gain
Ohio 10 James M. Ashley Republican 1862 Lost Re-election
Democratic gain
Ohio 11 John Thomas Wilson Republican 1866 Re-elected
Ohio 12 Philadelph Van Trump Democratic 1866 Re-elected
Ohio 13 Columbus Delano Republican 1866[j] Retired
Democratic gain
Ohio 14 Martin Welker Republican 1864 Re-elected
Ohio 15 Tobias A. Plants Republican 1864 Retired
Republican hold
Ohio 16 John Bingham Republican 1864 Re-elected
Ohio 17 Ephraim R. Eckley Republican 1862 Retired
Republican hold
Ohio 18 Rufus P. Spalding Republican 1862 Retired
Republican hold
Ohio 19 James A. Garfield Republican 1862 Re-elected

Non-voting members

Montana Territory

The election date is speculative.[4]

District Incumbent This race
Representative Party First elected Results Candidates
Montana Territory at-large James M. Cavanaugh Democratic 1868 Incumbent re-elected.

See also


  1. ^ Excludes states readmitted after the start of Congress.
  2. ^ The majority of States held elections on November 3, 1868 (i.e. "Election Day") for the first time.
  3. ^ a b Including late elections.
  4. ^ Conservatives won 5 seats.
  5. ^ a b c Elections held late.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Elections held early.
  7. ^ a b c d Readmitted state.
  8. ^ a b Previous election had one vacancy.
  9. ^ Late election to 40th Congress.
  10. ^ Columbus Delano lost election in 1866 to George W. Morgan, contested the election and was seated June 1868.


  1. ^ "40th Congress membership roster" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-03-09. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  2. ^ a b Ben. Perley Poore (1869). "Massachusetts". Congressional Directory for the First Session of the Forty-First Congress (2nd ed.). Washington DC: Government Printing Office.
  3. ^ Smith, Joseph P, ed. (1898). History of the Republican Party in Ohio. I. Chicago: the Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 258, 259.
  4. ^ a b


External links

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