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1918 United States elections

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1918 United States elections
Midterm elections
Election dayNovember 5
Incumbent presidentWoodrow Wilson (Democratic)
Next Congress66th
Senate elections
Overall controlRepublican Gain
Seats contested38 of 96 seats
(32 Class 2 seats + 9 special elections)[1]
Net seat changeRepublican +6[2]
US 1918 senate election map.svg
1918 Senate election results

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold

  Republican gain   Republican hold
House elections
Overall controlRepublican Gain
Seats contestedAll 435 voting seats
Net seat changeRepublican +24
Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested32
Net seat changeRepublican +4
1918 gubernatorial election results

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold

  Republican gain   Republican hold

The 1918 United States elections elected the 66th United States Congress, and took place in the middle of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson's second term. The election was held during the Fourth Party System. It was the lone election to take place during America's involvement in World War I. Republicans won control of both chambers of Congress for the first time since the 1908 election.

The election took place during the Spanish flu pandemic. Campaigning was disrupted around the country. In Nebraska, for instance, authorities lifted a ban on public gatherings in early November 1918 and permitted politicians to campaign five days prior to polls opening. The turnout was 40%, which was unusually low for a midterm election (turnout was at 52% and 50% in the 1910 and 1914 midterm elections). The low turnout was possibly due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.[3][4]

In an example of the six-year itch phenomenon, Republicans took complete control of Congress from the Democrats. The Republicans won large gains in the House, taking 25 seats and ending coalition control of the chamber.[5] In the Senate, Republicans gained 5 seats, taking control of the chamber by a slim majority.[6]

The elections were a major defeat for progressives and Wilson's foreign policy agenda, and foreshadowed the Republican victory in the 1920 election. Republicans ran against the expanded war-time government and the Fourteen Points, especially Wilson's proposal for the League of Nations. The Republican victory left them in control of both houses of Congress until the 1930 election.[7]

The election was also a turning point for women's suffrage in the United States. Ballot initiatives to extend suffrage to women (among all-male electorates) were held in the states of Oklahoma, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Michigan. Of these, all but the one in Louisiana passed. In addition, suffragists successfully campaigned against incumbent Senators who had refused to support the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. These included John W. Weeks of Massachusetts, who had been considered invincible, and Willard Saulsbury Jr. of Delaware. The suffragists' campaign was nearly derailed by the pandemic, but overcame it through extensive grassroots organizing.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Three Class 2 seats held both a regularly-scheduled election and a special election in 1918. These seats are not double-counted for the total number of seats contested.
  2. ^ Republicans picked up four seats in the regularly-scheduled elections and gained an additional two seats in the special elections.
  3. ^ Searcey, Dionne (2020-03-21). "The Lessons of the Elections of 1918". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  4. ^ "Here's How Coronavirus Is Affecting Voter Turnout". Time. Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  5. ^ "Party Divisions of the House of Representatives". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  6. ^ "Party Division in the Senate, 1789-Present". United States Senate. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  7. ^ Busch, Andrew (1999). Horses in Midstream. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 87–91.
  8. ^ DuBois, Ellen Carol (2020-04-20). "A pandemic nearly derailed the women's suffrage movement". National Geographic. Retrieved 2020-04-27.

This page was last edited on 9 June 2020, at 04:46
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