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31st Congress (1849–1851)

Congressional Profile

Total Membership:

  • 233 Representatives
  • 2 Delegates

Party Divisions:*

  • 113 Democrats
  • 108 Whigs
  • 9 Free Soilers
  • 1 American
  • 1 Independent

*Party division totals are based on election day results.

Congress Overview

The aftershocks of the war with Mexico rocked the 31st Congress (1849–1851). Mexico’s massive land cession to the United States precipitated a major sectional crisis over slavery in the new territory. Sectionalism in the House prevented the election of a Speaker for three weeks at the opening of the Congress. This relegated the House to a secondary role during the crisis. The focus instead turned to the Senate which initiated a complicated package of nine bills—known as the Compromise of 1850. The Compromise made an arduous, tangled journey to congressional passage in the fall of 1850.

Historical Highlights

See more Historical Highlights.

Member Information

  • Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress, (1774–2005), Official Annotated Membership Roster by State with Vacancy and Special Election Information for the 31st Congress. [PDF]
  • Learn more about the House of Representatives with an interactive map

Learn more about the People of the People's House

Leadership & Officers

Speaker of the House:
Howell Cobb (D–Georgia)
Democratic Caucus Chairman:
James Thompson (D–Pennsylvania)
Clerk of the House:
Richard M. Young 1
Thomas J. Campbell 2
Sergeant at Arms:
Adam J. Glossbrenner 3
Nathan Sargent
Chaplain of the House:
Ralph Gurley – Presbyterian
Doorkeeper:
Robert E. Horner
Postmaster:
John M. Johnson

To view complete lists of individuals who have served in these leadership and official positions since the 1st Congress, visit the People section

Footnotes

1Elected April 17, 1850.

2Died April 13, 1850.

3Elected January 15, 1850.