25th United States Congress

The Twenty-fifth 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, 1837, to March 4, 1839, during the first two years of Martin Van Buren's presidency.

The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Fifth Census of the United States in 1830. Both chambers had a Democratic majority.

25th United States Congress
24th ←
→ 26th
USCapitol1827A
March 4, 1837 – March 4, 1839
Senate PresidentRichard M. Johnson (D)
Senate President pro temWilliam R. King (D)
House SpeakerJames K. Polk (D)
Members52 senators
242 members of the House
3 non-voting delegates
Senate MajorityDemocratic
House MajorityDemocratic
Sessions
Special: March 4, 1837 – March 10, 1837
1st: September 4, 1837 – October 16, 1837
2nd: December 4, 1837 – July 9, 1838
3rd: December 3, 1838 – March 3, 1839

Major events

Jackson and Van Buren, 1837
The modern balaam and his ass, an 1837 caricature placing the blame for the Panic of 1837 and the perilous state of the banking system on outgoing President Andrew Jackson, shown riding a donkey, while President Martin Van Buren comments approvingly.

Major legislation

  • [Data unknown/missing.]

Territories organized

Party summary

Senate

Party
(shading shows control)
Total Vacant
Democratic
(D)
Whig
(W)
Other
End of the previous congress (Jacksonian)
31
(Anti-Jacksonian)
19
(Nullifier)
2
52 0
Begin 35 17 0 52 0
End 16 1
Final voting share 67.3% 30.8% 1.9%
Beginning of the next congress 28 19 0 47 5

House of Representatives

Party
(shading shows control)
Total Vacant
Anti-
Masonic

(AM)
Democratic
(D)
Nullifier
(N)
Whig
(W)
Other
End of the previous congress 14 (Jacksonian)
139
7 (Anti-Jacksonian)
81
0 241 1
Begin 7 121 7 100 0 235 0
End 114 105 2332
Final voting share 3.0% 48.9% 3.0% 45.1% 0.0%
Non-voting members 0 2001 3 0
Beginning of the next congress 6 124 0 109 2 241 1

Leadership

RichardMentorJohnson
President of the Senate
Richard M. Johnson

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.

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 ended with this Congress, requiring reelection in 1838; Class 2 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring reelection in 1840; and Class 3 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1842.

William Rufus DeVane King 1839 portrait
President pro tempore
William R. King

House of Representatives

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

25 us house membership
House seats by party holding plurality in state
  80+% to 100% Democratic
  Up to 60% Whig
  60+% to 80% Democratic
  60+% to 80% Whig
  Up to 60% Democratic
  80+% to 100% Whig
Polkpolk
Speaker of the House
James Polk

Changes in membership

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

Senate

  • Replacements: 6
    • Democrats: no net change
    • Whigs: no net change
  • Deaths: 1
  • Resignations: 6
  • Total seats with changes: 7
State
(class)
Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation
Virginia
(2)
Richard E. Parker (D) Resigned March 4, 1837, after accepting a seat on the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals William H. Roane (D) Elected March 14, 1837
Alabama
(3)
John McKinley (D) Resigned April 22, 1837, after being appointed Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Clement C. Clay (D) Elected June 19, 1837
Georgia
(2)
John P. King (D) Resigned November 1, 1837 Wilson Lumpkin (D) Elected November 22, 1837
Maryland
(1)
Joseph Kent (W) Died November 24, 1837 William D. Merrick (W) Elected January 4, 1838
Mississippi
(1)
John Black (W) Resigned January 22, 1838 James F. Trotter (D) Appointed January 22, 1838
Tennessee
(1)
Felix Grundy (D) Resigned July 4, 1838, after being appointed United States Attorney General Ephraim H. Foster (W) Elected September 17, 1838
Mississippi
(1)
James F. Trotter (D) Resigned July 10, 1838 Thomas H. Williams (D) Appointed November 12, 1838, and subsequently elected

House of Representatives

  • Replacements: 16
    • Democrats: 5-seat net loss
    • Whigs: 5-seat net gain
  • Deaths: 9
  • Resignations: 6
  • Contested election:1
  • Total seats with changes: 20
District Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation
Mississippi At-large Vacant Rep-elect Claiborne presented credentials July 18, 1837 John F. H. Claiborne (D) Seated July 18, 1837
Mississippi At-large Vacant Rep-elect Gholson presented credentials July 18, 1837 Samuel J. Gholson (D) Seated July 18, 1837
Pennsylvania 3rd Francis J. Harper (D) Died March 18, 1837 Charles Naylor (W) Seated June 29, 1837
Tennessee 4th James I. Standifer (W) Died August 20, 1837 William Stone (W) Seated September 14, 1837
Ohio 17th Elisha Whittlesey (W) Resigned October 20, 1837 Charles D. Coffin (W) Seated December 20, 1837
Mississippi At-large John F. H. Claiborne (D) Seat declared vacant February 5, 1838 Seargent S. Prentiss (W) Seated May 30, 1838
Mississippi At-large Samuel J. Gholson (D) Seat declared vacant February 5, 1838 Thomas J. Word (W) Seated May 30, 1838
Pennsylvania 9th Henry A. P. Muhlenberg (D) Resigned February 9, 1838, after being appointed Minister to Austrian Empire George M. Keim (D) Seated March 17, 1838
Maine 3rd Jonathan Cilley (D) Killed in a duel February 24, 1838, by Rep. William J. Graves Edward Robinson (W) Seated April 28, 1838
Maine 5th Timothy J. Carter (D) Died March 14, 1838 Virgil D. Parris (D) Seated May 29, 1838
Maryland 4th Isaac McKim (D) Died April 1, 1838 John P. Kennedy (W) Seated April 25, 1838
Virginia 13th John M. Patton (D) Resigned April 7, 1838 Linn Banks (D) Seated April 28, 1838
Alabama 3rd Joab Lawler (W) Died May 8, 1838 George W. Crabb (W) Seated October 5, 1835
Ohio 19th Daniel Kilgore (D) Resigned July 4, 1838 Henry Swearingen (D) Seated December 3, 1838
Ohio 16th Elisha Whittlesey (W) Resigned July 9, 1838 Joshua R. Giddings (W) Seated December 3, 1838
New York 22nd Andrew D. Bruyn (D) Died July 27, 1838 Cyrus Beers (D) Seated December 3, 1838
New York 29th William Patterson (W) Died August 14, 1838 Harvey Putnam (W) Seated November 7, 1838
Iowa Territory At-large New seat Iowa Territory seated its first delegate September 10, 1838 George Wallace Jones (D) Seated September 10, 1838
Massachusetts 2nd Stephen C. Phillips (W) Seat declared vacant September 28, 1838 Leverett Saltonstall (W) Seated December 15, 1838
Maine 1st John Fairfield (D) Resigned December 24, 1838, after being elected Governor of Maine Vacant Not filled this congress
Wisconsin Territory At-large George Wallace Jones (D) Lost contested election January 14, 1839 James D. Doty (D) Seated January 14, 1839
Louisiana 2nd Eleazar W. Ripley (D) Died March 2, 1839 Vacant Not filled this congress

Committees

Lists of committees and their party leaders.

Senate

House of Representatives

Joint committees

Employees

Senate

House of Representatives

See also

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

1836 United States elections

The 1836 United States elections elected the members of the 25th United States Congress. The election saw the emergence of the Whig Party, which succeeded the National Republican Party in the Second Party System as the primary opposition to the Democratic Party. The Whigs chose their name in symbolic defiance to the leader of the Democratic Party, "King" Andrew Jackson, and supported a national bank and the American System. Despite the emergence of the Whigs as a durable political party, Democrats retained the Presidency and a majority in both houses of Congress.

In the Presidential election, the Whigs ran multiple candidates designed to deny the Democratic candidate a majority of the electoral vote, and carried a scattering of states in the South, West, and Northeast. However, Democratic Vice President Martin Van Buren still took a majority of the popular and electoral vote, defeating Whig candidates William Henry Harrison of Ohio, Hugh Lawson White of Tennessee, Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, and Willie Person Mangum of North Carolina. Virginia's electors refused to vote for Richard Mentor Johnson, Van Buren's running mate, leaving Johnson short of a majority of electoral votes for vice president. The Senate elected Johnson in a contingent election, the only time the Senate has ever chosen the vice president. Van Buren was the last sitting vice president to win election as president until George H.W. Bush's election in 1988.

In the House, Whigs won moderate gains, but Democrats retained a solid majority in the chamber.In the Senate, Democrats picked up a large number of seats, boosting their majority.

1836 and 1837 United States House of Representatives elections

Elections to the United States House of Representatives for the 25th Congress were held at various dates in different states from July 1836 to November 1837.

Though Democrat Martin Van Buren was elected President in November 1836, Democrats lost seats. The newly organizing Whigs benefited from regional candidacies and issues and voter fatigue with outgoing two-term President Andrew Jackson. Jackson, a flamboyant public personality with a record of high-profile leadership and historic military success, often clashed with Congress and the Supreme Court. By comparison, Van Buren, a brilliant partisan organizer and political operative, was less charismatic in looks and demeanor. Voter support for the minor Anti-Masonic and Nullifier parties ebbed, but remained significant. One Independent, John Pope, was elected from Kentucky.

1837 Pennsylvania's 3rd congressional district special election

On June 29, 1837, a special election was held in Pennsylvania's 3rd congressional district to fill a vacancy left by the death of Francis J. Harper (D) on March 18, 1837.

1837 State of the Union Address

The 1837 State of the Union Address was given by the eighth president of the United States, Martin Van Buren, on December 5, 1837. It was presented to the 25th United States Congress by a clerk, because it was not yet the custom for the President to deliver it himself. He began with, "We have reason to renew the expression of our devout gratitude to the Giver of All Good for His benign protection. Our country presents on every side the evidences of that continued favor under whose auspices it, has gradually risen from a few feeble and dependent colonies to a prosperous and powerful confederacy."

1837 United States Senate election in New York

The 1837 United States Senate election in New York was held on February 7, 1837, by the New York State Legislature to elect a U.S. Senator (Class 3) to represent the State of New York in the United States Senate.

1838 Pennsylvania's 9th congressional district special election

On March 8, 1838, a special election was held in Pennsylvania's 9th congressional district to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Henry A. P. Muhlenberg (D) on February 9, 1838

Amasa J. Parker

Amasa Junius Parker (June 2, 1807 – May 13, 1890) was a U.S. Representative from New York and a justice of the New York Supreme Court.

Churchill C. Cambreleng

Churchill Caldom Cambreleng (October 24, 1786 – April 30, 1862) was an American businessman and politician from New York. He is notable for his service in the United States House of Representatives from 1821 to 1839, including terms as chairman of several high profile committees. In addition, he served as U.S. Minister to Russia from 1840 to 1841.

Henry A. Foster

Henry Allen Foster (May 7, 1800 – May 11, 1889) was an American lawyer and politician from New York. He was a United States Senator from 1844 to 1845.

Hiram Gray

Hiram Gray (July 10, 1801 in Salem, Washington County, New York – May 6, 1890 in Elmira, Chemung County, New York) was an American lawyer and politician from New York.

Horace Everett

Horace Everett (July 17, 1779 – January 30, 1851) was an American politician. He served as a United States Representative from Vermont.

John Calhoon

John Calhoon (1797–?) was a United States Representative from Kentucky. He was born in Henry County, Kentucky in 1797. He studied law, was admitted to the bar, and practiced.

Calhoon was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1820, 1821, 1829, and 1830. He was unsuccessful candidate for election to the Twentieth Congress. He received the credentials of an election as an Adams candidate to the Twentieth Congress, held November 5–7, 1827, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of United States Representative William S. Young, but, in order to avoid a contest, resigned and, together with his opponent, Thomas Chilton, petitioned the Governor of Kentucky for a new election. He was again unsuccessful in this election.

Calhoon was elected as an Anti-Jacksonian to the Twenty-fourth Congress and as a Whig to the Twenty-fifth Congress (March 4, 1835 – March 3, 1839) and was not a candidate for reelection to the Twenty-sixth Congress. After leaving Congress, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1839 and resumed the practice of law. He returned to Kentucky and was appointed judge of the fourteenth judicial district in January 1842.

He is the namesake of Calhoun, Kentucky, the seat of McLean County.

John Chambers (politician)

John Chambers (October 6, 1780 – September 21, 1852) was a U.S. Representative from Kentucky and the second Governor of the Iowa Territory.

Leverett Saltonstall I

Leverett Saltonstall (June 13, 1783 – May 8, 1845), was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts who also served as Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, President of the Massachusetts Senate, the first Mayor of Salem, Massachusetts and a Member of the Board of Overseers of Harvard College.Saltonstall was a great-grandfather of Massachusetts Governor and U.S. Senator Leverett Saltonstall (1892-1979).

List of United States Senators in the 25th Congress by seniority

This is a complete list of members of the United States Senate during the 25th United States Congress listed by seniority, from March 4, 1837, to March 3, 1839.

Order of service is based on the commencement of the senator's first term. Behind this is former service as a senator (only giving the senator seniority within his or her new incoming class), service as vice president, a House member, a cabinet secretary, or a governor of a state. The final factor is the population of the senator's state.Senators who were sworn in during the middle of the two-year congressional term (up until the last senator who was not sworn in early after winning the November 1838 election) are listed at the end of the list with no number.

List of United States federal legislation, 1789–1901

This is a chronological, but incomplete, list of United States federal legislation passed by the 1st through 56th United States Congresses, between 1789 and 1901. For the main article on this subject, see List of United States federal legislation. Additional lists can be found at List of United States federal legislation: Congress of the Confederation, List of United States federal legislation, 1901–2001 and List of United States federal legislation, 2001–present.

List of members of the United States House of Representatives in the 25th Congress by seniority

This is a complete list of members of the United States House of Representatives during the 25th United States Congress listed by seniority.

As an historical article, the districts and party affiliations listed reflect those during the 25th Congress (March 4, 1837 – March 3, 1839). Current seats and party affiliations on the List of current members of the United States House of Representatives by seniority will be different for certain members.Seniority depends on the date on which members were sworn into office. Since many members are sworn in on the same day, subsequent ranking is based on previous congressional service of the individual and then by alphabetical order by the last name of the congressman.

Committee chairmanship in the House is often associated with seniority. However, party leadership is typically not associated with seniority.

Note: The "*" indicates that the representative/delegate may have served one or more non-consecutive terms while in the House of Representatives of the United States Congress.

Mark H. Sibley

Mark Hopkins Sibley (1796 -– September 8, 1852) was an American politician from New York.

United States House of Representatives ban on head covering

The United States House of Representatives ban on head covering is an 1837 simple resolution that is a sumptuary rule restricting Representatives from wearing any headgear during sessions. It originally represented a break from the British House of Commons hat-wearing tradition. After 181 years, in 2018 a partial repeal to allow religious accommodation for a number of faiths that practice head covering was proposed with the election of Ilhan Omar, who wears a hijab.

United States Congresses (and year convened)

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