33rd United States Congress

The Thirty-third 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, 1853, to March 4, 1855, during the first two years of the administration of U.S. President Franklin Pierce. During this session, the Kansas–Nebraska Act was passed, an act that soon led to the creation of the Republican Party. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Seventh Census of the United States in 1850. Both chambers had a Democratic majority.

33rd United States Congress
32nd ←
→ 34th
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1855
Senate PresidentWilliam R. King (D)
until April 18, 1853
from April 18, 1853
Senate President pro temDavid R. Atchison (D)
Lewis Cass (D)
Jesse D. Bright (D)
House SpeakerLinn Boyd (D)
Members62 senators
234 members of the House
7 non-voting delegates
Senate MajorityDemocratic
House MajorityDemocratic
Special: March 4, 1853 – April 11, 1853
1st: December 5, 1853 – August 7, 1854
2nd: December 4, 1854 – March 4, 1855

Major events

Gadsden Purchase Cities ZP
Gadsden Purchase (in yellow)

Major legislation


Territories organized

Party summary


(shading shows control)
Total Vacant
Free Soil
End of the previous congress 0 34 4 23 0 61 1
Begin 1 35 2 19 0 57 5
End 38 5 17 611
Final voting share 1.6% 62.3% 8.2% 27.9% 0.0%
Beginning of the next congress 2 35 2 9 7 55 7

House of Representatives

For the beginning of this congress, the size of the House was increased from 233 seats to 234 seats, following the 1850 United States Census (See 9 Stat. 433).

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Free Soil
Other Vacant
End of previous Congress 126 3 3 86 0 14 232 1
Begin 158 1 3 71 1 0 234 0
End 156 2 74
Final voting share 66.7% 0.4% 0.9% 31.6% 0.4% 0.1%
Beginning of next Congress 79 (Opposition coalition)
233 1


William Rufus DeVane King 1839 portrait
President of the Senate
William R. King


House of Representatives


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


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 1856; Class 2 meant their term began with this Congress, requiring reelection in 1858; and Class 3 meant their term ended with this Congress, requiring reelection in 1854. The United States consisted of 31 states during this Congress.

Skip to House of Representatives, below
David Rice Atchison
Senate President pro tempore
David R. Atchison
Senate President pro tempore
Jesse D. Bright

House of Representatives

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

33 us house membership
House seats by party holding plurality in state
  80.1-100% Democratic
  80.1-100% Whig
  80.1-100% American
  60.1-80% Democratic
  60.1-80% Whig
  60.1-80% American
  Up to 60% Democratic
  Up to 60% Whig
  Up to 60% American
House Speaker
Linn Boyd

Changes in membership

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


Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation
Rhode Island
Vacant Failure to elect.
Successor was elected July 20, 1853.
Philip Allen (D) July 20, 1853
Vacant Failure to elect.
Successor elected November 29, 1853.
Clement C. Clay (D) November 29, 1853
Vacant Failure to elect.
Successor elected January 7, 1854.
Albert G. Brown (D) January 7, 1854
Vacant Failure to elect.
Successor was elected February 10, 1854.
William P. Fessenden (W) February 10, 1854
North Carolina
Vacant Failure to elect.
Successor was elected December 6, 1854.
David Reid (D) December 6, 1854
Solon Borland (D) Resigned April 11, 1853, after being appointed U.S. Minister to Nicaragua and other Central American Republics.
Successor appointed July 6, 1853.
Robert W. Johnson (D) July 6, 1853
Pierre Soulé (D) Resigned April 11, 1853, after being appointed U.S. Minister to Spain.
Successor elected December 5, 1853.
John Slidell (D) December 5, 1853
New Hampshire
Charles G. Atherton (D) Died November 15, 1853. Jared W. Williams (D) November 29, 1853
Samuel S. Phelps (W) Senate declared not entitled to seat March 16, 1854.
Successor elected October 14, 1854.
Lawrence Brainerd (FS) October 14, 1854
Truman Smith (W) Resigned May 24, 1854.
Successor was elected May 24, 1854.
Francis Gillette (FS) May 24, 1854
Edward Everett (W) Resigned June 1, 1854
Successor was appointed to serve until a new successor was elected.
Julius Rockwell (W) June 3, 1854
New Hampshire
Jared W. Williams (D) Resigned August 4, 1854. Vacant Not filled this term
New Hampshire
Moses Norris, Jr. (D) Died January 11, 1855.
Successor appointed January 16, 1855, to finish the term.
John S. Wells (D) January 16, 1855
Julius Rockwell (W) Successor elected January 31, 1855. Henry Wilson (FS) January 31, 1855
Augustus C. Dodge (D) Resigned February 22, 1855, after being appointed U.S. Minister to Spain. Vacant Not filled this term

House of Representatives

District Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation
Washington Territory at-large Vacant New seat established after Washington became a territory near the end of previous Congress. Seat was vacant until April 12, 1854. Columbia Lancaster (D) Seated April 12, 1854
New York 29th Azariah Boody (W) Resigned on October 13, 1853 Davis Carpenter (W) Seated November 8, 1853
Tennessee 1st Brookins Campbell (D) Died December 25, 1853 Nathaniel G. Taylor (W) Seated March 30, 1854
Pennsylvania 8th Henry A. Muhlenberg (D) Died January 9, 1854 J. Glancy Jones (D) Seated February 4, 1854
Massachusetts 1st Zeno Scudder (W) Resigned March 4, 1854 Thomas D. Eliot (W) Seated April 17, 1854
Kansas Territory at-large New seat New seat established after Kansas became a territory May 30, 1854. Seat was vacant until December 20, 1854. John W. Whitfield (D) Seated December 20, 1854
Nebraska Territory at-large New seat New seat established after Nebraska became a territory May 30, 1854. Seat was vacant until January 5, 1855. Napoleon B. Giddings (D) Seated December 5, 1855
Virginia 11th John F. Snodgrass (D) Died June 5, 1854 Charles S. Lewis (D) Seated December 4, 1854
New York 12th Gilbert Dean (D) Resigned July 3, 1854, after being appointed justice of the Supreme Court of New York Isaac Teller (W) Seated November 7, 1854
New York 22nd Gerrit Smith (FS) Resigned August 7, 1854 Henry C. Goodwin (W) Seated November 7, 1854
Kentucky 3rd Presley Ewing (W) Died September 27, 1854 Francis Bristow (W) Seated December 4, 1854


Lists of committees and their party leaders.


House of Representatives

Joint committees

  • Amending the Constitution on Presidential and Vice Presidential Elections
  • Enrolled Bills
  • San Francisco Disaster




House of Representatives

See also


  • 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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