51st United States Congress

Last updated
51st United States Congress
50th  
  52nd
USCapitol1906.jpg
March 4, 1889 – March 4, 1891
Senate President Levi P. Morton (R)
Senate President pro tem John J. Ingalls (R)
House Speaker Thomas B. Reed (R)
Members88 senators
332 members of the House
9 non-voting delegates
Senate Majority Republican
House Majority Republican
Sessions
Special: March 4, 1889 – April 2, 1889
1st: December 2, 1889 – October 1, 1890
2nd: December 1, 1890 – March 3, 1891

The Fifty-first United States Congress, referred to by some critics as the Billion Dollar 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, 1889, to March 4, 1891, during the first two years of the administration of U.S. President Benjamin Harrison.

Contents

The apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the Tenth Census of the United States in 1880. Both chambers had a Republican majority. This marked the first time since the 43rd United States Congress that both chambers were controlled by the president's party.

Major events

Major legislation

Benjamin Harrison and the Congress are portrayed as a "Billion-Dollar Congress," wasting the surplus in this cartoon from Puck. Billion dollar Congress.jpg
Benjamin Harrison and the Congress are portrayed as a "Billion-Dollar Congress," wasting the surplus in this cartoon from Puck .

It was responsible for a number of pieces of landmark legislation, many of which asserted the authority of the federal government.

Emboldened by their success in the elections of 1888, the Republicans enacted virtually their entire platform during their first 303-day session, including a measure that provided American Civil War veterans with generous pensions and expanded the list of eligible recipients to include noncombatants and the children of veterans. Grover Cleveland had vetoed a similar bill in 1887. It was criticized as the "Billion Dollar Congress'" for its lavish spending and, for this reason it incited drastic reversals in public support that led to Cleveland's reelection in 1892.

Other important legislation passed into law by the Congress included the McKinley tariff, authored by Representative, and future President, William McKinley; the Sherman Antitrust Act, which prohibited business combinations that restricted trade; and the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which required the U.S. government to mint silver. The last two were concessions to Western farmer interests in exchange for support of the tariff and would become central tenets of the Populist Party later in the decade. They were authored by Senator John Sherman.

The Fifty-first Congress was also responsible for passing the Land Revision Act of 1891, which created the national forests. Harrison authorized America's first forest reserve in Yellowstone, Wyoming, the same year.

Other bills were discussed but failed to pass, including two significant pieces of legislation focused on ensuring African Americans the right to vote. Henry Cabot Lodge sponsored a so-called Lodge Bill that would have established federal supervision of Congressional elections so as to prevent the disfranchisement of southern blacks. Henry W. Blair sponsored the Blair Education Bill, which advocated the use of federal aid for education in order to frustrate southern whites employing literacy tests to prevent blacks from registering to vote.

States admitted and territories organized

Party summary

The count below identifies party affiliations at the beginning of this Congress. Changes resulting from subsequent replacements are shown below in the "Changes in membership" section.

Six new states were admitted during this Congress, and their Senators and Representatives were elected throughout the Congress.

Senate

Party
(shading shows control)
TotalVacant
Democratic
(D)
Republican
(R)
Other
End of previous congress 37 38 1 [lower-alpha 1] 760
Begin 37 39 0 76 0
End 35 51 862
Final voting share40.7% 59.3% 0.0%
Beginning of next congress 36 46 2 [lower-alpha 2] 844

House of Representatives

Party
(shading shows control)
TotalVacant
Democratic
(D)
Socialist
Labor

(L)
Republican
(R)
Other
End of previous congress 167 2 152 4 [lower-alpha 3] 3250
Begin 160 0 164 0 324 1
End 153 1 176 3302
Final voting share46.4% 0.3% 53.3% 0.0%
Beginning of next congress 238 0 86 8 [lower-alpha 4] 3320

Leadership

President of the Senate
Levi P. Morton Levi Morton - Brady-Handy portrait - standard crop.jpg
President of the Senate
Levi P. Morton

Senate

House of Representatives

Members

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

Skip to House of Representatives, below

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 began in the last Congress, requiring reelection in 1892; Class 2 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1894; and Class 3 meant their term ended in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1890.

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.

Senate

State
(class)
VacatorReason for vacancySubsequentDate of successor's installation
Rhode Island
(2)
Jonathan Chace (R)Resigned April 9, 1889.
Successor was elected.
Nathan F. Dixon III (R)April 10, 1889
New Hampshire
(2)
Gilman Marston (R)Successor was elected June 18, 1889. William E. Chandler (R)June 18, 1889
South Dakota
(2)
New seatsSouth Dakota achieved statehood November 2, 1889.
First senators were elected October 16, 1889. [1]
Richard F. Pettigrew (R)November 2, 1889
South Dakota
(3)
Gideon C. Moody (R)
Montana
(1)
New seatsMontana achieved statehood November 8, 1889.
First Senator was elected January 1, 1890. [2]
His election was challenged based on the legitimacy of the nascent state legislature.
The Senate resolved the dispute in his favor April 16, 1890 and he was seated that day. [3]
Wilbur F. Sanders (R)April 16, 1890
Montana
(2)
Montana achieved statehood November 8, 1889.
First Senator was elected January 2, 1890. [2]
His election was challenged based on the legitimacy of the nascent state legislature.
The Senate resolved the dispute in his favor April 16, 1890 and he was seated that day. [3]
Thomas C. Power (R)April 16, 1890
Washington
(1)
New seatsWashington achieved statehood November 11, 1889. John B. Allen (R)November 20, 1889
Washington
(3)
Watson C. Squire (R)
Kentucky
(2)
James B. Beck (D)Died May 3, 1890.
Successor was elected.
John G. Carlisle (D)May 26, 1890
North Dakota
(3)
New seatsNorth Dakota achieved statehood November 2, 1889.
First senators were elected November 25, 1889.
Gilbert A. Pierce (R)November 21, 1889
North Dakota
(1)
Lyman R. Casey (R)November 25, 1889
Idaho
(2)
New seatsIdaho achieved statehood July 3, 1890. George L. Shoup (R)December 18, 1890
Idaho
(3)
William J. McConnell (R)
Wyoming
(2)
New seatsWyoming achieved statehood July 10, 1890.
New Senator was elected November 15, 1890.
Joseph M. Carey (R)November 15, 1890
Wyoming
(1)
Wyoming achieved statehood July 10, 1890.
New Senator was elected November 18, 1890.
Francis E. Warren (R)November 24, 1890
Maryland
(3)
Ephraim K. Wilson (D)Died February 24, 1891.Vacant until next Congress
California
(1)
George Hearst (D)Died February 28, 1891.Vacant until next Congress

House of Representatives

DistrictVacatorReason for changeSuccessorDate successor seated
Missouri 4th VacantElected to finish Rep. James N. Burnes who was re-elected to this Congress, but died during previous one. In addition, Rep. Charles F. Booher was elected to finish Burnes's term in previous Congress but chose not to run for re-election for this Congress. Robert P. C. Wilson (D)December 2, 1889
Illinois 19th Richard W. Townshend (D)Died March 9, 1889 James R. Williams (D)December 2, 1889
Kansas 4th Thomas Ryan (R)Resigned April 4, 1889 after being appointed U.S. Minister to Mexico Harrison Kelley (R)December 2, 1889
Louisiana 3rd Edward J. Gay (D)Died May 30, 1889 Andrew Price (D)December 2, 1889
Nebraska 2nd James Laird (R)Died August 17, 1889 Gilbert L. Laws (R)December 2, 1889
New York 9th Samuel S. Cox (D)Died September 10, 1889 Amos J. Cummings (D)November 5, 1889
New York 27th Newton W. Nutting (R)Died October 15, 1889 Sereno E. Payne (R)December 2, 1889
Dakota Territory At-large George A. Mathews (R)Territory achieved statehood. Remained in seat until November 2, 1889Territory achieved statehood
North Dakota At-large Henry C. Hansbrough (R)Territory achieved statehood. Took seat November 2, 1889New seat
South Dakota At-large Oscar S. Gifford (R)Territory achieved statehood. Took seats November 2, 1889New seats
John Pickler (R)
Montana Territory At-large Thomas H. Carter (R)Territory achieved statehood. Remained in seat until November 7, 1889Territory achieved statehood
New York 6th Frank T. Fitzgerald (D)Resigned November 4, 1889 after being elected Register of New York County Charles H. Turner (D)December 9, 1889
Washington Territory At-large John B. Allen (R)Territory achieved statehood. Remained in seat until November 11, 1889Territory achieved statehood
Pennsylvania 4th William D. Kelley (R)Died January 9, 1890 John E. Reyburn (R)February 18, 1890
West Virginia 4th James M. Jackson (D)Election was successfully challenged on February 3, 1890 Charles B. Smith (R)February 3, 1890
West Virginia 1st John O. Pendleton (D)Election was successfully challenged on February 26, 1890 George W. Atkinson (R)February 26, 1890
Arkansas 1st William H. Cate (D)Election was successfully challenged on March 5, 1890 Lewis P. Featherstone (L)March 5, 1890
Maryland 5th Barnes Compton (D)Election was successfully challenged on March 20, 1890 Sydney E. Mudd (R)March 20, 1890
New York 24th David Wilber (R)Died April 1, 1890 John S. Pindar (D)November 4, 1890
Virginia 3rd George D. Wise (D)Election was successfully challenged on April 10, 1890 Edmund Waddill, Jr. (R)April 12, 1890
Pennsylvania 3rd Samuel J. Randall (D)Died April 13, 1890 Richard Vaux (D)May 20, 1890
Kentucky 6th John G. Carlisle (D)Resigned May 26, 1890 after being elected to the U.S. Senate William W. Dickerson (D)June 21, 1890
Alabama 4th Louis W. Turpin (D)Election was successfully challenged on June 4, 1890 John V. McDuffie (R)June 4, 1890
Idaho Territory At-large Fred Dubois (R)Territory achieved statehood. Remained in seat until July 3, 1890Territory achieved statehood
Wyoming Territory At-large Joseph M. Carey (R)Territory achieved statehood. Remained in seat until July 10, 1889Territory achieved statehood
Montana At-large Thomas H. Carter (R)Territory achieved statehood. Took seat November 8, 1889New seat
Washington At-large John L. Wilson (R)Territory achieved statehood. Took seat November 20, 1889New seat
Missouri 14th James P. Walker (D)Died July 19, 1890 Robert H. Whitelaw (D)November 4, 1890
Pennsylvania 27th Lewis F. Watson (R)Died August 25, 1890 Charles W. Stone (R)November 4, 1890
Arkansas 2nd Clifton R. Breckinridge (D)Election was successfully challenged on September 5, 1890, however Rep-elect John M. Clayton died during election challenge, so seat was declared vacant. Breckinridge was elected to open seat. Clifton R. Breckinridge (D)November 4, 1890
South Carolina 7th William Elliott (D)Election was successfully challenged on September 23, 1890 Thomas E. Miller (R)September 24, 1890
Virginia 4th Edward C. Venable (D)Election was successfully challenged on September 23, 1890 John M. Langston (R)September 23, 1890
California 1st John J. De Haven (R)Resigned October 1, 1890 Thomas J. Geary (D)December 9, 1890
Idaho At-large Willis Sweet (R)Territory achieved statehood. Took seat October 1, 1890New seat
Iowa 7th Edwin H. Conger (R)Resigned October 3, 1890 after being appointed U.S. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Brazil Edward R. Hays (R)November 4, 1890
Oklahoma Territory At-large David A. Harvey (R)Territory organized from Indian Territory. Took seat November 4, 1890New seat
Wyoming At-large Clarence D. Clark (R)Territory achieved statehood. Took seat December 1, 1890New seat
New York 8th John H. McCarthy (D)Resigned January 14, 1891 after being appointed justice of the City Court of New York Vacant until next Congress
Tennessee 10th James Phelan Jr. (D)Died January 30, 1891Vacant until next Congress

Committees

Lists of committees and their party leaders, for members (House and Senate) of the committees and their assignments, go into the Official Congressional Directory at the bottom of the article and click on the link (4 links), in the directory after the pages of terms of service, you will see the committees of the Senate, House (Standing with Subcommittees, Select and Special) and Joint and after the committee pages, you will see the House/Senate committee assignments in the directory, on the committees section of the House and Senate in the Official Congressional Directory, the committee's members on the first row on the left side shows the chairman of the committee and on the right side shows the ranking member of the committee.

Senate

House of Representatives

Joint committees

Caucuses

Employees

Legislative branch agency directors

Senate

House of Representatives

See also

Notes

  1. Readjuster
  2. Populist
  3. Independent Republican, Greenback, Independent
  4. Populist

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References

  1. Journal of the House of Representatives…, p. 21
  2. 1 2 "Congressional Series of United States Public Documents". Government Printing Office. 1893. p. 64.
  3. 1 2 Taft, George S.; Furber, George P.; Buck, George M.; Webb, Charles A.; Pierce, Herbert R. (1913). "Compilation of Senate Election Cases from 1789 to 1913". U.S. Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office., p. 727