Girish Mahajan (Editor)

16th United States Congress

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Senate Majority:  Democratic-Republican
House Majority:  Democratic-Republican
16th United States Congress
Senate President  Daniel D. Tompkins (DR)
Senate Pres. pro tem:  James Barbour (DR) John Gaillard (DR)
House Speaker:  Henry Clay (DR) John W. Taylor (DR)
Members:  46 Senators 186 Representatives 3 Non-voting members

The Sixteenth 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, 1819, to March 4, 1821, during the third and fourth years of James Monroe's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Third Census of the United States in 1810. Both chambers had a Democratic-Republican majority.


Major events

  • A "speech for Buncombe County, North Carolina" given by North Carolina representative Felix Walker in 1820 was credited with introducing into the language the term "bunkum".
  • March 6, 1819: McCulloch v. Maryland: Supreme Court ruled that the Bank of the United States is constitutional.
  • July 3, 1820: United States House of Representatives elections, 1820 began in Louisiana
  • August 7, 1820: 1820 United States Census conducted, eventually determining a population of 9,638,453, of which 1,538,022 were slaves.
  • December 3, 1820: U.S. presidential election, 1820: James Monroe was re-elected, virtually unopposed.
  • Major legislation

  • March 6, 1820: Missouri Compromise, Sess. 1, ch. 22, 3 Stat. 545
  • April 24, 1820: Land Act of 1820, Sess. 1, ch. 51, 3 Stat. 566
  • Proposed but not enacted

  • Tallmadge Amendment would bar slaves from the new state of Missouri. Passed the House of Representatives, but not the Senate. The Tallmadge Amendment led to the passage of the Missouri Compromise.
  • Treaties

  • February 22, 1819: Adams-OnĂ­s Treaty (Transcontinental Treaty of 1819): Spain ceded Florida to the United States.
  • States admitted and territories created

  • July 4, 1819: Arkansas Territory was created, 3 Stat. 493. It was formerly part of the Missouri Territory.
  • December 14, 1819: Alabama was admitted as the 22nd state, 3 Stat. 492.
  • March 15, 1820: Maine was admitted as the 23rd state. It was formerly the District of Maine, part of Massachusetts, 3 Stat. 544.
  • Party summary

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


    During this congress, two Senate seats were added for each of the new states of Alabama and Maine.

    House of Representatives

    During this congress, one House seat was added for the new state of Alabama and one seat was reapportioned from Massachusetts to the new state of Maine. For the beginning of the next congress, six more seats from Massachusetts would be reapportioned to Maine.


  • President: Daniel D. Tompkins (DR)
  • President pro tempore: James Barbour, (DR), until December 26, 1819
  • John Gaillard, (DR), elected January 25, 1820
  • House of Representatives

  • Speaker: Henry Clay (DR), until October 28, 1820
  • John Taylor, (DR), elected November 15, 1820
  • 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


    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 1820; Class 2 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring reelection in 1822; and Class 3 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1824.

    Changes in membership

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


    There were 5 resignations, 2 deaths, 2 vacancies before the Congress, and 4 new seats. The Democratic-Republicans had a 7-seat net gain and the Federalists had a 1-seat net loss.

    House of Representatives

    There were 13 resignations, 5 deaths, 2 contested elections, and 2 new seats. The Democratic-Republicans had a 1-seat net gain and the Federalists had no net change.


    Lists of committees and their party leaders.


  • Amendments to the Constitution (Select)
  • American Colonization Society (Select)
  • Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses of the Senate
  • Claims
  • Commerce and Manufactures
  • Constitution of the State of Alabama (Select)
  • District of Columbia
  • Finance
  • Foreign Relations
  • Indian Affairs
  • Judiciary
  • Land Commissioner Reports (Select)
  • Military Affairs
  • Militia
  • Missouri's Admission to the Union (Select)
  • Naval Affairs
  • Pensions
  • Post Office and Post Roads
  • Public Buildings (Select)
  • Public Lands
  • Purchase of Fire Engines (Select)
  • Reduction of Congressional Salaries (Select)
  • Roads and Canals (Select)
  • Whole
  • House of Representatives

  • Accounts
  • Agriculture
  • Apportionment of Representatives (Select)
  • Army Appropriations Inquiry (Select)
  • Bank of the United States (Select)
  • Brownstown Treaty (Select)
  • Claims
  • Commerce
  • District of Columbia
  • Elections
  • Expenditures in the Navy Department
  • Expenditures in the Post Office Department
  • Expenditures in the State Department
  • Expenditures in the Treasury Department
  • Expenditures in the War Department
  • Expenditures on Public Buildings
  • Manufactures
  • Pensions and Revolutionary War Claims
  • Post Office and Post Roads
  • Public Expenditures
  • Public Lands
  • Revisal and Unfinished Business
  • Rules (Select)
  • Standards of Official Conduct
  • Ways and Means
  • Whole
  • Joint committees

  • Enrolled Bills
  • Investigate Safety of Roofs over Senate and House Wings of the Capitol
  • Officers

  • Architect of the Capitol: Charles Bulfinch, appointed January 8, 1818
  • Librarian of Congress: George Watterston
  • Senate

  • Chaplain: Reuben Post (Presbyterian), elected December 9, 1819
  • William Ryland (Methodist), elected November 17, 1820
  • Secretary: Charles Cutts
  • Sergeant at Arms: Mountjoy Bayly
  • House of Representatives

  • Chaplain: Burgess Allison (Baptist), elected December 6, 1819
  • John N. Campbell (Presbyterian), elected November 18, 1820
  • Clerk: Thomas Dougherty, elected December 6, 1819
  • Doorkeeper of the House: Thomas Claxton, elected December 6, 1819
  • Sergeant at Arms: Thomas Dunn, elected December 6, 1819
  • References

    16th United States Congress Wikipedia

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