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34th United States Congress
Capitol1846.jpg
United States Capitol (1846)

Duration: March 4, 1855 – March 4, 1857

President of the Senate: Vacant
President pro tempore: Jesse D. Bright
Charles E. Stuart
Jesse D. Bright
James M. Mason
Speaker of the House: Nathaniel P. Banks
Members: 62 Senators
234 Representatives
7 Non-voting members
Senate Majority: Democratic
House Majority: Opposition & American coalition

Sessions
1st: December 3, 1855 – August 18, 1856
2nd: August 21, 1856 – August 30, 1856
3rd: December 1, 1856 – March 4, 1857
<33rd 35th>

The Thirty-fourth 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, 1855 to March 4, 1857, during the last two years of the administration of U.S. President Franklin Pierce. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Seventh Census of the United States in 1850. The Senate had a Democratic majority, and the House had a coalition majority of Representatives opposed to the Democrats.

Contents

Major events

Major legislation

Treaties

President pro tempore
Jesse D. Bright
President pro tempore
James M. Mason
Speaker of the House
Nathaniel P. Banks

Party summary

The count below identifies party affiliations at the beginning of the first session of this Congress, and includes members from vacancies and newly admitted states, when they were first seated. Changes resulting from subsequent replacements are shown below in the "Changes in membership" section.

During the elections for this Congress, opponents to the Democrats used the Whig party label inconsistently and not at all in some states. Hence in this Congress, and in accordance with the practice of the Senate and House, representatives not associated with the Democratic Party or the American Party are labeled as "Opposition." This is the first example in U.S. history of a form of coalition government in either house of Congress.

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Senate

TOTAL members: 62

House of Representatives

The parties that opposed the Democrats joined a coalition and formed the majority.

TOTAL members: 234

Leadership

Senate

House of Representatives

Members

This list is arranged by chamber, then by state. Senators are listed in order of seniority, and Representatives are listed by district.

Senate

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, requiring reelection in 1856; Class 2 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring reelection in 1858; and Class 3 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1860.

Alabama

Arkansas

California

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Mississippi

Missouri

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Tennessee

Texas

Vermont

Virginia

Wisconsin

House of Representatives

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

Alabama

Arkansas

California

Both representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket.

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Mississippi

Missouri

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Tennessee

Texas

Vermont

Virginia

Wisconsin

Non-voting members

Changes in membership

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

Senate

  • Deaths: 1
  • Interim appointments: 1
  • Mid-term elections: 2
  • Late elections: 3
  • Resignations: 1
  • Total seats with changes: 8
    • Democrats: 2-seat net gain
    • Opposition: 2-seat net loss
      • Opposition Whigs: 1-seat net loss
      • Opposition Free-soilers: 1-seat net loss
    • Republicans: 4-seat net gain
State Vacator Reason for Vacancy Successor Date of successor's taking office
New Hampshire
(Class 2)
Vacant Legislature failed to elect on time. John Parker Hale (R) July 30, 1855
New Hampshire
(Class 3)
Vacant Charles G. Atherton died during the previous Congress. Successor was elected. James Bell (R) July 30, 1855
Pennsylvania
(Class 3)
Vacant Legislature failed to elect on time. William Bigler (D) January 14, 1856
Indiana
(Class 3)
Vacant Legislature failed to elect on time. Graham N. Fitch (D) February 4, 1857
Delaware
(Class 2)
John M. Clayton (O / W) Died November 9, 1856. Successor was appointed. Joseph P. Comegys (O / W) November 19, 1856
Maine
(Class 1)
Hannibal Hamlin (D) Resigned January 7, 1857 to become Governor of Maine. Successor was appointed. Amos Nourse (R) January 16, 1857
Delaware
(Class 2)
Joseph P. Comegys (O / W) Appointment expired January 14, 1857 upon successor's election. Martin W. Bates (D) January 14, 1857
Iowa
(Class 3)
James Harlan (O / FS) Presented his credentials and took his seat December 31, 1855; owing to irregularities in the legislative proceedings the Senate declared the seat vacant in January 1857. He was subsequently re-elected to fill the vacancy James Harlan (R) January 29, 1857

House of Representatives

  • replacements: 6
    • Democrats: 2 seat net loss
    • Opposition: 4 seat net gain
  • deaths: 4
  • resignations: 5
  • contested election: 1
  • Total seats with changes: 10

Officers

Senate

House of Representatives

Notes

References

  • 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


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