The 72nd New York State Legislature, consisting of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly, met from January 2 to April 11, 1849, during the first year of Hamilton Fish's governorship, in Albany.
Under the provisions of the New York Constitution of 1846, 32 Senators were elected in single-seat senatorial districts for a two-year term, the whole Senate being renewed biennially. The senatorial districts (except those in New York City) were made up of entire counties. 128 Assemblymen were elected in single-seat districts to a one-year term, the whole Assembly being renewed annually. The Assembly districts were made up of entire towns, or city wards, forming a contiguous area, all in the same county. The City and County of New York was divided into four senatorial districts, and 16 Assembly districts.
State Senator Allen Ayrault resigned on June 2, 1848, leaving a vacancy in the 29th District.
At this time there were two major political parties: the Democratic Party and the Whig Party. The Democratic Party was split into two factions: the "Barnburners" and the "Hunkers." The Barnburners walked out of the 1848 Democratic state convention and formed with a small faction of anti-slavery Whigs and a part of the Liberty Party the Free Soil Party. The uncompromising radical abolitionists ran their own tickets as the Liberty Party.
The New York state election, 1848 was held on November 7.
Whigs Hamilton Fish and George W. Patterson were elected Governor and Lieutenant Governor; and the other two statewide elective offices were also carried by the Whigs.
State Comptroller Millard Fillmore was elected United States Vice President.
106 Whigs, 15 Free Soilers and 7 Hunkers were elected to the State Assembly. One Whig was elected to fill the vacancy in the State Senate.
The Legislature met for the regular session at the Old State Capitol in Albany on January 2, 1849; and adjourned on April 11.
Amos K. Hadley (W) was re-elected Speaker with 101 votes against 13 for Frederick P. Bellinger (Barnb.) and 6 for Charles C. Noble (Hunker).
On January 31, State Comptroller Millard Fillmore sent a letter to the Legislature, resigning the office, to take effect on February 20.
On February 6, the Legislature elected William H. Seward (W) to succeed John A. Dix (Barnb.) as U.S. Senator, for a six-year term beginning on March 4, 1849.
On February 17, the Legislature elected Washington Hunt (W) to succeed Millard Fillmore as State Comptroller on February 20.
On April 11, Samuel J. Wilkin was elected President pro tempore of the State Senate.
The asterisk (*) denotes members of the previous Legislature who continued in office as members of this Legislature.Clerk: Andrew H. Calhoun
The asterisk (*) denotes members of the previous Legislature who continued as members of this Legislature.
Party affiliations follow the vote on Speaker, U.S. Senator and USNY Regent.Clerk: Philander B. Prindle
Sergeant-at-Arms: Samuel S. Blanchard
Doorkeeper: Robert Grant
Assistant Doorkeeper: Thomas E. Osborn
Second Assistant Doorkeeper: Samuel Merclean