65th United States Congress

The Sixty-fifth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from March 4, 1917, to March 4, 1919, during the fifth and sixth years of Woodrow Wilson's presidency. The apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the Thirteenth Census of the United States in 1910. The Senate had a Democratic majority, and the House had a Republican plurality but the Democrats remained in control with the support of the Progressives and Socialist Representative Meyer London.

65th United States Congress
64th ←
→ 66th
March 4, 1917 – March 4, 1919
Senate PresidentThomas R. Marshall (D)
Senate President pro temWillard Saulsbury, Jr. (D)
House SpeakerChamp Clark (D)
Members96 senators
435 members of the House
5 non-voting delegates
Senate MajorityDemocratic
House MajorityDemocratic (coalition)
Special: March 5, 1917 – March 16, 1917
1st: April 2, 1917 – October 6, 1917
2nd: December 3, 1917 – November 21, 1918
3rd: December 2, 1918 – March 3, 1919

Major events

Major legislation

After war was declared, war bond posters demonized Germany

Constitutional amendments

Party summary


(shading shows control)
Total Vacant
End of the previous congress 55 41 96 0
Begin 54 42 96 0
End 49 47
Final voting share 51.0% 49.0%
Beginning of the next congress 47 49 96 0

House of Representatives

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Progressive Socialist Prohibition Republican Farmer Labor Vacant
End of previous Congress 230 6 1 1 196 0 435 0
Begin 213 3 1 1 215 0 434 1
End 211 212 429 6
Final voting share 50.2% 0.2% 49.5% 0.0%
Beginning of the next Congress 192 0 1 1 240 1 435 0



House of Representatives

Majority (Democratic) leadership

Minority (Republican) leadership


Skip to House of Representatives, below


Because of the 17th Amendment, starting in 1914 U.S. Senators were directly elected instead of by the state legislatures. However, this did not affect the terms of U.S. Senators whose terms had started before that Amendment took effect, In this Congress, Class 2 meant their term ended with this Congress, requiring reelection in 1918; Class 3 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring reelection in 1920; and Class 1 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1922.

Thomas Riley Marshall headshot
Senate President
Thomas R. Marshall
Senate President pro tempore
Willard Saulsbury, Jr.

House of Representatives

House Speaker
Champ Clark
65 us house membership
House seats by party holding plurality in state
  80.1-100% Democratic
  80.1-100% Republican
  60.1-80% Democratic
  60.1-80% Republican
  Up to 60% Democratic
  Up to 60% Republican

Changes in membership

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


  • Replacements: 17
  • Deaths: 10
  • Resignations: 1
  • Vacancy: 1
  • Total seats with changes: 17
State Senator Reason for Vacancy Successor Date of Successor's Installation
Harry Lane (D) Died May 23, 1917.
Successor was appointed.
Charles L. McNary (R) May 29, 1917
Paul O. Husting (D) Died October 21, 1917.
Successor was elected.
Irvine Lenroot (R) April 18, 1918
Francis G. Newlands (D) Died December 24, 1917.
Successor was appointed and subsequently elected.
Charles Henderson (D) January 12, 1918
James H. Brady (R) Died January 13, 1918.
Successor appointed and subsequently elected.
John F. Nugent (D) January 22, 1918
New Jersey
William Hughes (D) Died January 30, 1918.
Successor appointed and subsequently elected.
David Baird Sr. (R) February 23, 1918
Robert F. Broussard (D) Died April 12, 1918.
Successor was appointed.
Walter Guion (D) April 22, 1918
William J. Stone (D) Died April 14, 1918.
Successor was appointed.
Xenophon P. Wilfley (D) April 30, 1918
South Carolina
Benjamin Tillman (D) Died July 3, 1918.
Successor was appointed.
Christie Benet (D) July 6, 1918
New Hampshire
Jacob H. Gallinger (R) Died August 17, 1918.
Successor was appointed.
Irving W. Drew (R) September 2, 1918
Ollie M. James (D) Died August 28, 1918.
Successor was appointed.
George B. Martin (D) September 17, 1918
Walter Guion (D) Interim appointee replaced by elected successor. Edward Gay (D) November 6, 1918
Xenophon P. Wilfley (D) Interim appointee replaced by elected successor. Selden P. Spencer (R) November 6, 1918
New Hampshire
Irving W. Drew (R) Interim appointee replaced by elected successor. George H. Moses (R) November 6, 1918
Charles L. McNary (R) Interim appointee replaced by elected successor. Frederick W. Mulkey (R) November 6, 1918
South Carolina
Christie Benet (D) Interim appointee replaced by elected successor. William P. Pollock (D) November 6, 1918
Frederick W. Mulkey (R) Resigned December 17, 1918, to give successor preferential seniority.
Successor was appointed.
Charles L. McNary (R) December 18, 1918

House of Representatives

  • replacements: 23
  • deaths: 15
  • resignations: 12
  • contested elections: 3
  • Total seats with changes: 31
District Vacator Reason for Vacancy Successor Date of Successor's Installation
New York 15th Vacant Rep. Michael F. Conry died during previous congress.
Successor was elected.
Thomas F. Smith (D) April 12, 1917
New Hampshire 1st Cyrus A. Sulloway (R) Died March 11, 1917.
Successor was elected.
Sherman E. Burroughs (R) May 29, 1917
Pennsylvania 28th Orrin D. Bleakley (R) Resigned April 3, 1917, after being convicted and fined under the Federal Corrupt Practices Act.
Successor was elected.
Earl H. Beshlin (D) November 6, 1917
North Dakota 1st Henry T. Helgesen (R) Died April 10, 1917.
Successor was elected.
John M. Baer (R) July 20, 1917
Massachusetts 6th Augustus P. Gardner (R) Resigned May 15, 1917, to join the U.S. Army.
Successor was elected.
Willfred W. Lufkin (R) November 6, 1917
Indiana 6th Daniel W. Comstock (R) Died May 19, 1917.
Successor was elected.
Richard N. Elliott (R) June 29, 1917
Connecticut 4th Ebenezer J. Hill (R) Died September 27, 1917.
Successor was elected.
Schuyler Merritt (R) November 6, 1917
Illinois 4th Charles Martin (D) Resigned October 28, 1917.
Successor was elected.
John W. Rainey (D) April 2, 1918
Michigan 2nd Mark R. Bacon (R) Lost contested election December 13, 1917.
Successor was elected.
Samuel Beakes (D) December 13, 1917
Georgia 4th William C. Adamson (D) Resigned December 18, 1917.
Successor was elected.
William C. Wright (D) January 6, 1918
Ohio 14th Ellsworth R. Bathrick (D) Died December 23, 1917.
Successor was elected.
Martin L. Davey (D) November 5, 1918
New York 7th John J. Fitzgerald (D) Resigned December 31, 1917.
Successor was elected.
John J. Delaney (D) March 5, 1918
New York 8th Daniel J. Griffin (D) Resigned December 31, 1917, after being elected Sheriff of Kings County, New York.
Successor was elected.
William E. Cleary (D) March 5, 1918
New York 22nd Henry Bruckner (D) Resigned December 31, 1917.
Successor was elected.
Anthony J. Griffin (D) March 5, 1918
New York 21st George M. Hulbert (D) Resigned January 1, 1918, to become Commissioner of Docks and director of the Port of New York.
Successor was elected.
Jerome F. Donovan (D) March 5, 1918
New Jersey 5th John H. Capstick (R) Died March 17, 1918.
Successor was elected.
William F. Birch (R) November 5, 1918
Virginia 1st William A. Jones (D) Died April 17, 1918.
Successor was elected.
S. Otis Bland (D) July 2, 1918
Wisconsin 11th Irvine Lenroot (R) Resigned April 17, 1918, after being elected to the U.S. Senate.
Successor was elected.
Adolphus P. Nelson (R) November 5, 1918
Wisconsin 6th James H. Davidson (R) Died August 6, 1918.
Successor was elected.
Florian Lampert (R) November 5, 1918
Maryland 2nd Fred Talbott (D) Died October 5, 1918.
Successor was elected.
Carville Benson (D) November 5, 1918
Missouri 10th Jacob E. Meeker (R) Died October 16, 1918.
Successor was elected.
Frederick Essen (R) November 5, 1918
Illinois 17th John Allen Sterling (R) Died October 17, 1918.
Successor was elected.
Seat remained vacant until next Congress.
Virginia 6th Carter Glass (D) Resigned December 6, 1918, after being appointed United States Secretary of the Treasury. James P. Woods (D) February 25, 1919
Pennsylvania At-large John R. K. Scott (R) Resigned January 5, 1919. Seat remained vacant until next Congress.
New York 4th Harry H. Dale (D) Resigned January 6, 1919, after being appointed judge of magistrate court. Seat remained vacant until next Congress.
Alaska Territory Charles A. Sulzer (D) Lost contested election January 7, 1919. James Wickersham (R) January 7, 1919
Pennsylvania 22nd Edward E. Robbins (R) Died January 25, 1919. Seat remained vacant until next Congress.
Missouri 5th William P. Borland (D) Died February 20, 1919. Seat remained vacant until next Congress.
North Carolina 10th Zebulon Weaver (D) Lost contested election March 1, 1919.
Successor was elected.
James J. Britt (R) March 1, 1919
Kentucky 8th Harvey Helm (D) Died March 3, 1919. Seat remained vacant until next Congress.
Texas 12th James C. Wilson (D) Resigned March 3, 1919, to become judge of United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Seat remained vacant until next Congress


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 (6 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.


House of Representatives

Joint committees

  • Conditions of Indian Tribes (Special)
  • Disposition of (Useless) Executive Papers
  • Interstate Commerce
  • Postal Salaries
  • Reclassification of Salaries




House of Representatives

See also


  1. ^ Hiram Johnson (R-California) didn't take his seat until March 16, 1917, as he wanted to remain Governor of California. However, he was still elected and qualified as Senator.
1916 United States elections

The 1916 United States elections elected the members of the 65th United States Congress. The election occurred during the Fourth Party System, six months before the United States entered World War I. Unlike 1912, the Democrats did not benefit from a split in the Republican Party, but the Democrats still retained the Presidency and the majority in the Senate. Democrats lost the majority in the House, but retained control of the chamber.

Democratic President Woodrow Wilson defeated the Republican nominee, former Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, in the presidential election. Hughes won the Republican nomination on the third ballot of the 1916 Republican National Convention, defeating several other candidates. Republicans won several Northern states, but Wilson's success in the rest of the country gave him a small margin in the electoral college and the popular vote. Wilson's win made him the first sitting Democratic President to win re-election since Andrew Jackson. Wilson's running mate, Thomas R. Marshall, was the first sitting Vice President to win re-election since John C. Calhoun.

Republicans made moderate gains in the House, gaining a narrow plurality. However, Democrat Champ Clark won re-election as Speaker of the House.

In the second Senate election since the ratification of the 17th Amendment, Republicans made minor gains, but Democrats retained a solid majority.

1917 State of the Union Address

The 1917 State of the Union Address was given by Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States on Tuesday, December 4, 1917, during his turbulent second term. He spoke in the United States House of Representatives chamber, in the United States Capitol. He said, "I shall not go back to debate the causes of the war. The intolerable wrongs done and planned against us by the sinister masters of Germany have long since become too grossly obvious and odious to every true American to need to be rehearsed." He addressed the 65th United States Congress, and spoke of World War I. He ended with, "A supreme moment of history has come. The eyes of the people have been opened and they see. The hand of God is laid upon the nations. He will show them favor, I devoutly believe, only if they rise to the clear heights of His own justice and mercy." In the middle of the speech, he said this about the German Empire, "The worst that can happen to the detriment the German people is this, that if they should still, after the war is over, continue to be obliged to live under ambitious and intriguing masters interested to disturb the peace of the world, men or classes of men whom the other peoples of the world could not trust, it might be impossible to admit them to the partnership of nations which must henceforth guarantee the world's peace." He is saying that empires' do not promote world peace. A year after he gave this speech, on December 4, 1918, the United States military would swallow Germany in victory, and the saying that is written would come true, "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

1917 United States House of Representatives elections

There were eight special elections to the United States House of Representatives in 1917, during the 64th United States Congress and 65th United States Congress.

1918 State of the Union Address

The 1918 State of the Union Address was given by the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, on Monday, December 2, 1918, to the houses of the 65th United States Congress. He gave these war statistics, "A year ago we had sent 145,918 men overseas. Since then we have sent 1,950,513, an average of 162,542 each month, the number in fact rising, in May last, to 245,951, in June to 278,760, in July to 307,182, and continuing to reach similar figures in August and September, in August 289,570 and in September 257,438." By the end of 1918, America had won the peace, and World War I was over. He said, "And throughout it all how fine the spirit of the nation was: what unity of purpose, what untiring zeal!" He ended with, "I shall make my absence as brief as possible and shall hope to return with the happy assurance that it has been possible to translate into action the great ideals for which America has striven."

Alien Naturalization Act

The Alien Naturalization Act, Sess. 2, ch. 69, 40 Stat. 542, was a May 9, 1918 Act of the 65th United States Congress.

More than 192,000 aliens were naturalized between May 9, 1918-June 30, 1919, under this act. It allowed aliens that were serving in the U.S. armed forces during "the present war" to file petitions for naturalization without making declarations of intent or proving 5 years' residence (requirements at the time).

Chamberlain-Kahn Act

The Chamberlain-Kahn Act of 1918 is a U.S. federal law passed on July 9, 1918 by the 65th United States Congress. The law implemented a public health program that came to be known as the American Plan, whose stated goal was to combat the spread of venereal disease.The Chamberlain-Kahn Act gave the government the power to quarantine any woman suspected of having a sexually transmitted disease (STD). A medical examination was required, and if it revealed an STD, this discovery could constitute proof of prostitution. The purpose of this law was to prevent the spread of venereal diseases among U.S. soldiers. During World War I, the American Plan authorized the military to arrest any woman within five miles of a military cantonment. If found infected, a woman could be sentenced to a hospital or a "farm colony" until cured. By the end of the war 15,520 prostitutes had been imprisoned, most never having received medical hospitalization.The act is named for Senator George Earle Chamberlain of Oregon and Representative Julius Kahn of California.

Edward B. Cassatt

Colonel Edward Buchanan Cassatt (August 23, 1869 – January 31, 1922) was an American soldier and an owner/breeder of Thoroughbred racehorses. He was the son of Alexander Cassatt, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and his wife, Lois Buchanan, a niece of James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States.

Cassatt studied at Haverford College then at École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr in France before graduating from West Point in 1903. He served with the United States Cavalry in the Spanish–American War and the Philippine–American War. He also served as military attaché at the Embassy of the United States in London, England.

He married Emily Louise Phillips in 1893 and divorced in 1904. They had one child, Lois, who married John B. Thayer III. He married a second time in 1908 to Eleanor Blackford Smith of Virginia. She was about twenty years his junior and shared his love of horses.Edward Cassatt ran as a Democrat for the 65th United States Congress (1917–1919) but lost to incumbent Republican, Thomas S. Butler.

Federal Explosives Act of 1917

Federal Explosives Act of 1917 is a United States federal statutory law citing an incriminating act for the distribution, manufacture, possession, storage, and use of explosive material during the time of war. The Act of Congress authorizes the federal regulation of the distribution, manufacture, possession, storage, and use of incendiary material during wartime.

The Act was passed by the 65th United States Congress and enacted into law by President Woodrow Wilson on October 6, 1917.

Food and Fuel Control Act

The Food and Fuel Control Act, Pub.L. 65–41, 40 Stat. 276, enacted August 10, 1917, also called the Lever Act or the Lever Food Act was a World War I era US law that among other things created the United States Food Administration and the Federal Fuel Administration.

Grand Canyon National Park Act

The Grand Canyon National Park Act, 65th Congress, was the U.S. federal law that established Grand Canyon National Park as the nation's seventeenth national park. It was signed into law on February 26, 1919, by President Woodrow Wilson.

Grand Canyon National Park Act of 1919

Grand Canyon National Park Act of 1919 is a United States statute establishing Grand Canyon National Park in the state of Arizona. The Act of Congress describes geographic metes and bounds relative to the tract of land designating the Grand Canyon Park. The public law authorizes provisions for agricultural purposes, mineral prospecting rights, irrigation projects, and railroad easements. The Act provides restrictions for building on private land, game preserve exclusion, and rescinding the Grand Canyon National Monument as created by Presidential Proclamation 794 in 1908.The S. 390 legislation was passed by the 65th United States Congressional session and enacted into law by the 28th President of the United States Woodrow Wilson on February 26, 1919.

Liberty bond

A Liberty bond (or liberty loan) was a war bond that was sold in the United States to support the allied cause in World War I. Subscribing to the bonds became a symbol of patriotic duty in the United States and introduced the idea of financial securities to many citizens for the first time. The Act of Congress which authorized the Liberty Bonds is still used today as the authority under which all U.S. Treasury bonds are issued.

Securities, also known as Liberty Bonds, were issued in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks to finance the rebuilding of the areas affected.

List of United States Senators in the 65th Congress by seniority

This is a complete list of members of the United States Senate during the 65th United States Congress listed by seniority, from March 4, 1917, to March 3, 1919.

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 Congress (up until the last senator who was not sworn in early after winning the November 1918 election) are listed at the end of the list with no number.

Revenue Act of 1918

The Revenue Act of 1918, 40 Stat. 1057, raised income tax rates over those established the previous year. The bottom tax bracket was expanded but raised from 2% to 6%.

The act simplified the tax structure created by the 1917 act. Instead of applying a "like normal tax" and a "like additional tax" to the 1916 act normal tax and additional tax it created a single tax structure with a Normal Tax and a Surtax.

The top rate was increased to 77%, and applied to income above $1,000,000. The top rate of the War Revenue Act of 1917 had taxed all income above $2,000,000 at a 67% rate.

The act was applicable to incomes for 1918. For 1919 and 1920 the top normal tax rate was reduced from 12 percent to 8%. This reduced the top marginal tax rate that combined normal tax and surtax from 77% to 73%.

Even in 1918, only 5% of the population paid federal income taxes (up from 1% in 1913), and yet the income tax funded one-third of the cost of World War I.

Selective Service Act of 1917

The Selective Service Act of 1917 or Selective Draft Act (Pub.L. 65–12, 40 Stat. 76, enacted May 18, 1917) authorized the United States federal government to raise a national army for service in World War I through conscription. It was envisioned in December 1916 and brought to President Woodrow Wilson's attention shortly after the break in relations with Germany in February 1917. The Act itself was drafted by then-Captain (later Brigadier General) Hugh S. Johnson after the United States entered World War I by declaring war on Germany. The Act was canceled with the end of the war on November 11, 1918. The Act was upheld as constitutional by the United States Supreme Court in 1918.

Standard Time Act

The Standard Time Act of 1918, also known as the Calder Act, was the first United States federal law implementing Standard time and Daylight saving time in the United States. It authorized the Interstate Commerce Commission to define each time zone.

The section concerning daylight saving time was repealed by the act titled An Act For the repeal of the daylight-saving law, Pub.L. 66–40, 41 Stat. 280, enacted August 20, 1919, over President Woodrow Wilson's veto.

Section 264 of the act mistakenly placed most of the state of Idaho (south of Salmon River (Idaho)) in UTC−06:00 CST Central Standard Time, but was amended in 2007 by Congress to UTC−07:00 MST Mountain Standard Time. MST was observed prior to the correction.

War Revenue Act of 1917

The United States War Revenue Act of 1917 greatly increased federal income tax rates while simultaneously lowering exemptions.

The 2% bracket had previously applied to income below $20,000. That amount was lowered to $2,000. The top bracket (on income above $2 million) was raised from 15% to 67%.

The act was applicable to incomes for 1917.

War Risk Insurance Act

The War Risk Insurance Act was a piece of legislation passed by the United States Congress in 1914 to ensure the availability of war risk insurance for shipping vessels and individuals during World War I. It established a Bureau of War Risk Insurance within the Treasury Department to provide insurance policies and pay claims. In 1917, the War Risk Insurance Act of 1917 amended the insurance program to make life insurance coverage available to sailors in the United States Merchant Marine.

Henry D. Lindsley served as director from December 1918 to August 1920. He was followed by R. A. Cholmeley-Jones.

Wheat Price Guarantee Act

The Wheat Price Guarantee Act was a 1919 bill passed by Congress that gave the government the power to regulate the price of wheat.

United States Congresses (and year convened)

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