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46th United States Congress

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Senate President  William A. Wheeler (R)
House Speaker  Samuel J. Randall (D)
House Majority  Democratic (coalition)
Senate Pres. pro tem  Allen G. Thurman (D)
Senate Majority  Democratic
46th United States Congress
Members  76 Senators 293 Representatives 8 Non-voting members

The Forty-sixth 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, 1879 to March 4, 1881, during the last two years of the administration of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes.


The apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the Ninth Census of the United States in 1870. The Senate had a Democratic majority, while the House of Representatives had a Democratic plurality. The Democrats were still able to control the House, however, with the help of the Independent politicians who caucused with them.


  • President: William A. Wheeler (R)
  • President pro tempore: Allen G. Thurman (D)
  • Democratic Caucus Chairman: William A. Wallace
  • Republican Conference Chairman: Henry B. Anthony
  • House of Representatives

  • Speaker: Samuel J. Randall (D)
  • Democratic Caucus Chairman: John Ford House
  • Republican Conference Chair: William P. Frye
  • Major events

  • Depression of 1873–79
  • March 18, 1879: Samuel J. Randall was elected in one of the most tightly fought contests for the speakership after the Civil War. Randall, who favored the protective tariff and "hard money," drew his greatest strength from northern cities and greatest opposition from the west and south. The midterm elections of 1878 had gone badly for the Democrats, with the Greenback Party making inroads in key districts. This emboldened Randall's opponents, who rallied to the support of Joseph Blackburn from Kentucky. In the end, Randall prevailed in the Democratic caucus to receive the nomination, with 75 votes to Blackburn's 57 and a scattering of 9 votes to three other candidates. Blackburn, in moving to make Randall's nomination unanimous, steered his supporters away from the nomination of Hendrick B. Wright, a Democrat from Pennsylvania who was nominated by the Greenbacks. In the eventual vote in the House to elect the Speaker, Randall prevailed with 144 votes, to 125 for James Garfield (Republican from Ohio), 13 for Wright, and one for William "Pig Iron" Kelley (Pennsylvania).
  • November 2, 1880: U.S. presidential election, 1880: James Garfield (R) defeated Winfield S. Hancock (D)
  • February 19, 1881: Kansas became the first state to prohibit alcohol.
  • Major legislation

  • [Data unknown/missing. You can help!]
  • 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


    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 re-election in 1880; Class 2 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring re-election in 1882; and Class 3 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring re-election in 1884.

    House of Representatives

    The names of members are preceded by their district numbers.

    Changes in membership

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


  • replacements: 4
  • Democratic: no net change
  • Republican: no net change
  • deaths: 3
  • resignations: 1
  • interim appointments: 2
  • Total seats with changes: 5
  • House of Representatives

  • replacements: 8
  • Democratic: 1 seat net gain
  • Republican: 1 seat net loss
  • deaths: 4
  • resignations: 3
  • contested election: 2
  • Total seats with changes: 11
  • Committees

    Lists of committees and their party leaders.


  • Additional Accommodations for the Library of Congress (Select)
  • Agriculture
  • Appropriations
  • Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses of the Senate
  • Cabinet Officers on the Floor of the Senate (Select)
  • Civil Service and Retrenchment
  • Claims
  • Commerce
  • Distributing Public Revenue Among the States (Select)
  • District of Columbia
  • Education and Labor
  • Elections of 1878 (Select)
  • Emigration of Negroes from the South to North (Select)
  • Engrossed Bills
  • Enrolled Bills
  • Epidemic Diseases (Select)
  • Examine the Several Branches in the Civil Service (Select)
  • Finance
  • Foreign Relations
  • Freedman's Savings and Trust Company (Select)
  • Indian Affairs
  • Indian Territory (Select)
  • Manufactures
  • Military Affairs
  • Mines and Mining
  • Mississippi River and its Tributaries (Select)
  • Naval Affairs
  • Nicaraguan Claims (Select)
  • Ordnance and War Ships (Select)
  • Patents
  • Pensions
  • Plueropneumonia among Animals (Select)
  • Post Office and Post Roads
  • Private Land Claims
  • Privileges and Elections
  • Public Lands
  • Railroads
  • Revision of the Laws
  • Revolutionary Claims
  • Rules
  • Tariff Regulation (Select)
  • Tenth Census (Select)
  • Territories
  • Transportation Routes to the Seaboard (Select)
  • Treasury Department Account Discrepancies (Select)
  • Whole
  • House of Representatives

  • Accounts
  • Alcoholic Liquor Traffic (Select)
  • Agriculture
  • Appropriations
  • Banking and Currency
  • Claims
  • Coinage, Weights and Measures
  • Commerce
  • District of Columbia
  • Education and Labor
  • Elections
  • Enrolled Bills
  • Expenditures in the Interior Department
  • Expenditures in the Justice Department
  • 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
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Indian Affairs
  • Invalid Pensions
  • Judiciary
  • Levees and Improvements of the Mississippi River
  • Manufactures
  • Mileage
  • Military Affairs
  • Militia
  • Mines and Mining
  • Naval Affairs
  • Pacific Railroads
  • Patents
  • Pensions
  • Post Office and Post Roads
  • Public Buildings and Grounds
  • Public Expenditures
  • Public Lands
  • Railways and Canals
  • Revision of Laws
  • Rules (Select)
  • Standards of Official Conduct
  • Territories
  • War Claims
  • Ways and Means
  • Whole
  • Joint committees

  • Budget Control
  • Conditions of Indian Tribes (Special)
  • Employees

  • Architect of the Capitol: Edward Clark
  • Librarian of Congress: Ainsworth Rand Spofford
  • Public Printer of the United States: John D. Defrees
  • Senate

  • Secretary: George C. Gorham
  • John C. Burch elected March 24, 1879
  • Sergeant at Arms: John R. French
  • Richard J. Bright, elected March 23, 1879
  • Chaplain: Joseph J. Bullock (Presbyterian)
  • House of Representatives

  • Clerk: George M. Adams
  • Sergeant at Arms: John G. Thompson
  • Doorkeeper: Charles W. Field
  • Postmaster: James M. Steuart
  • Clerk at the Speaker’s Table: J. Randolph Tucker, Jr.
  • George P. Miller
  • Michael Sullivan
  • Chaplain: W.P. Harrison (Methodist)
  • References

    46th United States Congress Wikipedia

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