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31st United States Congress

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

31st United States Congress
30th ←
→ 32nd

March 4, 1849 – March 4, 1851
Members62 senators
233 representatives
2 non-voting delegates
Senate majorityDemocratic
Senate PresidentMillard Fillmore (W)[a]
(until July 9, 1850)
(from July 9, 1850)
House majorityDemocratic (plurality)
House SpeakerHowell Cobb (CU)
Special: March 5, 1849 – March 23, 1849
1st: December 3, 1849 – September 30, 1850
2nd: December 2, 1850 – March 4, 1851

The 31st 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 Washington, D.C., from March 4, 1849, to March 4, 1851, during the 16 months of the Zachary Taylor presidency and the first eight months of the administration of Millard Fillmore's. The apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the 1840 United States census. The Senate had a Democratic majority, while there was a Democratic plurality in the House.

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Major events

Major legislation

States admitted and territories organized

Party summary


During this Congress, two Senate seats were added for the new state of California.

(shading shows control)
Total Vacant

End of previous congress 38 0 21 1 60 0
Begin 33 2 25 0 60 0
End 36 24 62
Final voting share 58.1% 3.2% 38.7% 0.0%
Beginning of next congress 34 2 21 0 57 5

House of Representatives

During this Congress, two House seats were added for the new state of California.

(shading shows control)
Total Vacant


End of previous congress 1 111 0 114 1 2 229 1
Begin 1 113 9 107 0 0 230 1
End 114 105 13
Final voting share 0.4% 49.6% 3.9% 45.7% 0.4% 0.0%
Beginning of next congress 0 128 3 85 0 17 233 0


President of the Senate
Millard Fillmore


House of Representatives


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

Skip to House of Representatives, below


Senators' party membership by state at the opening of the 31st Congress in March 1849. The green stripes represent Free Soil. California's senators were not seated until September 10, 1850.
  2 Democrats
  1 Democrat and 1 Whig
  2 Whigs
Senate presidents pro tempore
David R. Atchison (D)
(until December 2, 1849)
William R. King (D)
(from May 6, 1850)

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 ended with this Congress, facing re-election in 1850; Class 2 meant their term began in the last Congress, facing re-election in 1852; and Class 3 meant their term began in this Congress, facing re-election in 1854.

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.


  • Replacements: 5
  • Deaths: 1
  • Resignations: 3
  • Seats from newly admitted states: 2
  • Interim appointments: 4
  • Total seats with changes: 8
Senate changes
Vacated by Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation[c]
James Shields (D) Senate voided election March 6, 1849, as Sen. Shields was determined not to have been a US citizen for the number of years required by the Constitution.
Incumbent was re-elected October 27, 1849, having by then qualified.
James Shields (D) Seated December 3, 1849
Reverdy Johnson (W) Resigned March 7, 1849, having been appointed United States Attorney General David Stewart (W) Appointed December 6, 1849
Benjamin Fitzpatrick (D) Sen. Dixon Lewis successor elected November 30, 1849 Jeremiah Clemens (D) Elected November 30, 1849
David Stewart (W) Successor elected January 12, 1850 Thomas Pratt (W) Elected January 12, 1850
South Carolina
John C. Calhoun (D) Died March 31, 1850 Franklin H. Elmore (D) Appointed April 11, 1850
South Carolina
Franklin H. Elmore (D) Died May 29, 1850 Robert W. Barnwell (D) Appointed June 4, 1850
Thomas Corwin (W) Resigned July 20, 1850, after being appointed United States Secretary of the Treasury Thomas Ewing (W) Appointed July 20, 1850
Daniel Webster (W) Resigned July 22, 1850, after being appointed United States Secretary of State again. Robert C. Winthrop (W) Appointed July 30, 1850
New state California admitted to the Union September 9, 1850.
The first Senator was elected September 10, 1850.
John C. Frémont (D) Elected September 10, 1850
New state California admitted to the Union September 9, 1850.
The first Senator was elected September 10, 1850.
William M. Gwin (D) Elected September 10, 1850
South Carolina
Robert W. Barnwell (D) Successor elected December 18, 1850 Robert Rhett (D) Elected December 18, 1850
Robert C. Winthrop (W) Successor elected February 1, 1851 Robert Rantoul Jr. (D) Elected February 1, 1851

House of Representatives

  • Replacements: 11
  • Deaths: 8
  • Resignations: 5
  • Contested election:1
  • Seats from newly admitted states: 2
  • Total seats with changes: 16
House changes
District Vacated by Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation[c]
Minnesota Territory At-large Vacant Seat remained vacant after territory became organized at end of previous congress Henry H. Sibley Seated July 7, 1849
Vermont 3rd George Perkins Marsh (W) Resigned some time in 1849 James Meacham (W) Seated December 3, 1849
Ohio 6th Rodolphus Dickinson (D) Died March 20, 1849 Amos E. Wood (D) Seated December 3, 1849
Virginia 15th Alexander Newman (D) Died September 8, 1849 Thomas Haymond (W) Seated November 8, 1849
Georgia 1st Thomas B. King (W) Resigned March 3, 1850 Joseph W. Jackson (D) Seated March 4, 1850
Massachusetts 2nd Daniel P. King (W) Died July 25, 1850 Vacant Not filled this term
Iowa 1st William Thompson (D) Seat declared vacant June 29, 1850, after contested election. House ruled neither candidate entitled to seat and forced special election Daniel F. Miller (W) Seated December 20, 1850
Massachusetts 1st Robert C. Winthrop (W) Resigned July 30, 1850, after being appointed to the US Senate Samuel A. Eliot (W) Seated August 22, 1850
Louisiana 2nd Charles M. Conrad (W) Resigned August 17, 1850, after being appointed United States Secretary of War Henry A. Bullard (W) Seated December 5, 1850
New Hampshire 3rd James Wilson (W) Resigned September 9, 1850 George W. Morrison (D) Seated October 8, 1850
California At-large California admitted into the Union September 9, 1850, and seat remained vacant until September 11, 1850 Edward Gilbert (D) Seated September 11, 1850
California At-large California admitted into the Union September 9, 1850, and seat remained vacant until September 11, 1850 George W. Wright (I) Seated September 11, 1850
Pennsylvania 15th Henry Nes (W) Died September 10, 1850 Joel B. Danner (D) Seated December 2, 1850
Pennsylvania 11th Chester P. Butler (W) Died October 5, 1850 John Brisbin (D) Seated November 13, 1850
Louisiana 3rd John H. Harmanson (D) Died October 24, 1850 Alexander G. Penn (D) Seated December 30, 1850
Ohio 6th Amos E. Wood (D) Died November 19, 1850 John Bell (W) Seated January 7, 1851
Texas 1st David S. Kaufman (D) Died January 31, 1851 Vacant Not filled this term


Lists of committees and their party leaders.

Joint committees




House of Representatives

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Vice President Millard Filmore's term as President of the Senate ended on July 9, 1850 when ascending to the Presidency, President pro tempore William R. King acted his duties as the President of the Senate.
  2. ^ A group of senators consisting of John Macpherson Berrien, William C. Dawson, Benjamin Fitzpatrick, William R. King, James M. Mason, Robert M. T. Hunter, Jesse D. Bright, James Whitcomb, Thomas Corwin, Salmon P. Chase, Joseph R. Underwood and Henry Clay, as well as a group of representatives from the House consisting of Linn Boyd, James L. Johnson, Finis E. McLean, George Caldwell , John B. Thompson, Daniel Breck, Humphrey Marshall, Charles S. Morehead, John C. Mason, Richard H. Stanton, Thomas B. King, Marshall J. Wellborn, Allen F. Owen, Hugh A. Haralson, Thomas C. Hackett, Howell Cobb, Alexander Stephens, Robert Toombs, John S. Millson, Richard K. Meade, Thomas H. Averett, Thomas S. Bocock, Paulus Powell, James Seddon, Thomas H. Bayly, Alexander Holladay, Jeremiah Morton, Richard Parker, James McDowell, Henry A. Edmundson, LaFayette McMullen, James M. H. Beale, Alexander Newman, Nathaniel Albertson, Cyrus L. Dunham, John L. Robinson, George W. Julian, William J. Brown, Willis A. Gorman, Edward W. McGaughey, Joseph E. McDonald, Graham N. Fitch, Andrew J. Harlan, David T. Disney, Lewis D. Campbell, Robert C. Schenck, Moses B. Corwin, Emery D. Potter, Jonathan D. Morris, John L. Taylor, Edson B. Olds, Charles Sweetser, John K. Miller, Samuel F. Vinton, William A. Whittlesey, Nathan Evans, William F. Hunter, Moses Hoagland, Joseph Cable, David K. Cartter, John Crowell, Joshua R. Giddings and Joseph M. Root all condemned France's President Napoleon III on the floor of the House and Senate, and put in writing that they expressed "solidarity" with President Taylor in his diplomatic clash with the French. This breakdown in relations with France was considered a potential diplomatic disaster in France, and it only calmed down when the French ambassador was removed and replaced by his own government. President Taylor refused to budge, and remained openly hostile to the French. However, Vice President Millard Fillmore was outspokenly sympathetic to the French, causing the French ambassador to remark "we have in this country (the United States) a president who hates France and Vice President who loves France. Our interests are with Fillmore." Before being removed the French ambassador wrote "With this President, this Congress and this Senate, the United States is a hostile country to us."[1][2][3][4][5]
  3. ^ a b When seated or oath administered, not necessarily when service began.


  1. ^ John Macpherson Berrien of Georgia (1781-1856): A Political Biography, Royce Coggins McCrary University of Georgia, 1974
  2. ^ President Zachary Taylor: The Hero President by Elbert B. Smith
  3. ^ Who Were the Southern Whigs? by Charles Grier Sellers
  4. ^ A Reappraisal of Franco-American Relations, 1830-1871 by Henry Blumenthal
  5. ^ The World: Historical & Actual: What Has Been & what is ... by Frank Gilbert, pg. 681
  6. ^ Jenkins, Jeffery A.; Stewart III, Charles (April 2001). Sophisticated Behavior and Speakership Elections: The Elections of 1849 and 1855–56. Midwest Political Science Association. Chicago, IL. p. 29. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  7. ^ "Voteview | Plot Vote: 31st Congress > Senate > 89".
  8. ^ Mediation of the Honduran-Guatemalan Boundary Question: Held Under the Good Offices of the Department of State, 1918-1919 ... by United States. Department of State U.S. Government Printing Office, 1919 pg. 211
  • 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 16 December 2023, at 06:12
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