Trisha Shetty (Editor)

56th United States Congress

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Senate Pres. pro tem  William P. Frye (R)
Senate Majority  Republican
House Speaker  David B. Henderson (R)
House Majority  Republican
56th United States Congress
Senate President  Garret Hobart (R) until November 21, 1899 Vacant from November 21, 1899
Members  90 Senators 357 Representatives 4 Non-voting members

The Fifty-sixth 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, 1899 to March 4, 1901, during the third and fourth years of William McKinley's presidency. The apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the Eleventh Census of the United States in 1890. Both chambers had a Republican majority. There was one African-American member, George Henry White of North Carolina, who served his second and final term as a Representative in this Congress, and would be the last black member of Congress until 1928, and the last black member of Congress from the South until 1972.


Major events

  • June 2, 1899: The Filipino Rebellion began the Philippine–American War.
  • November 21, 1899: Vice President Garret Hobart died.
  • January 8, 1900: President McKinley placed Alaska under military rule.
  • January 17, 1900: Brigham H. Roberts was refused a seat in the United States House of Representatives because of his polygamy.
  • February 5, 1900: Britain and the United States signed a treaty for the building of a Central American shipping canal through Nicaragua.
  • February 16, 1900: The United States, Germany and Great Britain ratified the Tripartite Convention partitioning the Samoan Islands.
  • November 6, 1900: U.S. presidential election, 1900: Republican incumbent William McKinley was reelected by defeating Democratic challenger William Jennings Bryan.
  • Major legislation

  • March 14, 1900: Gold Standard Act, Sess. 1, ch. 41, 31 Stat. 45
  • April 2, 1900: Foraker Act, Sess. 1, ch. 191, 31 Stat. 77 (Puerto Rico Civil Code)
  • Party summary

    The count below identifies party affiliations at the beginning of the first session of this Congress, and includes members from vacancies and newly admitted states, when they were first seated. Changes resulting from subsequent replacements are shown below in the "Changes in membership" section.


  • President: Garret Hobart (R), until November 21, 1899; vacant thereafter.
  • President pro tempore: William P. Frye (R)
  • Democratic Caucus Chairman: James K. Jones (D)
  • Republican Conference Chairman: William B. Allison (R)
  • Democratic Campaign Committee Chairman: Stephen M. White (D)
  • House of Representatives

  • Speaker: David B. Henderson (R)
  • Democratic Caucus Chairman: James Hay (D)
  • Republican Conference Chairman: Joseph G. Cannon (R)
  • Majority (Republican) leadership

  • Majority Leader: Sereno E. Payne
  • Majority Whip: James A. Tawney
  • Minority (Democratic) leadership

  • Minority Leader: James D. Richardson
  • Minority Whip: Oscar Underwood
  • 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


    At this time, 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 with this Congress, requiring re-election in 1904; Class 2 meant their term ended with this Congress, requiring re-election in 1900; and Class 3 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring re-election in 1902.

    Changes in membership

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


  • replacements: 7
  • Democratic: no net change
  • Republican: 1 seat loss
  • Populist: 1 seat gain
  • deaths: 3
  • resignations: 1
  • vacancy: 5
  • interim appointments: 2
  • Total seats with changes: 9
  • House of Representatives

  • replacements: 21
  • Democratic: 5 seat loss
  • Republican: 5 seat gain
  • Populist: no net change
  • deaths: 12
  • resignations: 7
  • contested election: 3
  • new seats: 1
  • Total seats with changes: 26
  • Committees

    Lists of committees and their party leaders.


  • Additional Accommodations for the Library of Congress (Select)
  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Appropriations
  • Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses of the Senate
  • Canadian Relations
  • Census
  • Civil Service and Retrenchment
  • Claims
  • Coast and Insular Survey
  • Coast Defenses
  • Commerce
  • Corporations Organized in the District of Columbia
  • Cuban Relations
  • Distributing Public Revenue Among the States (Select)
  • District of Columbia
  • Education and Labor
  • Engrossed Bills
  • Enrolled Bills
  • Establish a University in the United States (Select)
  • Examine the Several Branches in the Civil Service
  • Expenditures in Executive Departments
  • Finance
  • Fisheries
  • Five Civilized Tribes of Indians (Select)
  • Foreign Relations
  • Forest Reservations and the Protection of Game
  • Geological Survey (Select)
  • Immigration
  • Immigration and Naturalization
  • Indian Affairs
  • Irrigation and Reclamation
  • Industrial Expositions
  • International Expositions (Select)
  • Interoceanic Canals
  • Interstate Commerce
  • Judiciary
  • Library
  • Manufactures
  • Military Affairs
  • Mines and Mining
  • Mississippi River and its Tributaries (Select)
  • National Banks (Select)
  • Naval Affairs
  • Nicaragua Canal (Select)
  • Pacific Islands and Puerto Rico
  • Pacific Railroads
  • Patents
  • Pensions
  • Philippines
  • Post Office and Post Roads
  • Potomac River Front (Select)
  • Printing
  • Private Land Claims
  • Privileges and Elections
  • Public Buildings and Grounds
  • Public Health and National Quarantine
  • Public Lands
  • Railroads
  • Revision of the Laws
  • Revolutionary Claims
  • Rules
  • Tariff Regulation (Select)
  • Territories
  • Transportation and Sale of Meat Products (Select)
  • Transportation Routes to the Seaboard
  • Washington City Centennial (Select)
  • Whole
  • Woman Suffrage (Select)
  • House of Representatives

  • Accounts
  • Agriculture
  • Alcoholic Liquor Traffic
  • Appropriations
  • Banking and Currency
  • Claims
  • Coinage, Weights and Measures
  • Disposition of Executive Papers
  • District of Columbia
  • Education
  • Election of the President, Vice President and Representatives in Congress
  • Elections
  • Enrolled Bills
  • Expenditures in the Agriculture Department
  • 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
  • Immigration and Naturalization
  • Indian Affairs
  • Insular Affairs
  • Interstate and Foreign Commerce
  • Invalid Pensions
  • Irrigation of Arid Lands
  • Labor
  • Levees and Improvements of the Mississippi River
  • Manufactures
  • Merchant Marine and Fisheries
  • Mileage
  • Military Affairs
  • Militia
  • Mines and Mining
  • Naval Affairs
  • Pacific Railroads
  • Patents
  • Pensions
  • Post Office and Post Roads
  • Public Buildings and Grounds
  • Public Lands
  • Railways and Canals
  • Reform in the Civil Service
  • Revision of Laws
  • Rivers and Harbors
  • Rules
  • Standards of Official Conduct
  • Territories
  • Ventilation and Acoustics
  • War Claims
  • Ways and Means
  • Whole
  • Joint committees

  • Conditions of Indian Tribes (Special)
  • Disposition of (Useless) Executive Papers
  • Employees

  • Architect of the Capitol: Edward Clark
  • Librarian of Congress: John Russell Young (until 1899), Herbert Putnam (starting 1899)
  • Public Printer of the United States: Frank W. Palmer
  • Senate

  • Chaplain: William H. Millburn (Methodist)
  • Secretary: William Ruffin Cox
  • Charles G. Bennett, elected February 1, 1900
  • Sergeant at Arms: Richard J. Bright
  • Daniel M. Ransdell, elected February 1, 1900
  • House of Representatives

  • Chaplain: Henry N. Couden (Universalist)
  • Clerk: Alexander McDowell
  • Clerk at the Speaker’s Table: Asher C. Hinds
  • Doorkeeper: William J. Glenn
  • Postmaster: Joseph C. McElroy
  • Sergeant at Arms: Henry Casson
  • References

    56th United States Congress Wikipedia

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