*Party division totals are based on election day results.
The Southern rebellion which followed Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency gave Republicans control of the 37th Congress (1861–1863). Congress, led by a vocal minority of Radical Republicans, backed Lincoln on nearly every legislative front: the southern naval blockade; the call for volunteers; the federal spending blitz; and the suspension of habeas corpus. Freed to act without Southern obstructionism, Congress passed a long succession of bills with far-reaching consequences for the country’s growth in later decades: the establishment of an Agriculture Department, the Homestead Act, the Pacific Railroad Act, and the land-grant college system.
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To view complete lists of individuals who have served in these leadership and official positions since the 1st Congress, visit the People section
1From 1855 to 1861 the local clergy in the District of Columbia conducted the opening prayer. Thereafter, the House has elected a Chaplain at the beginning of each Congress.
2No clear data for this period exist. Representative Hickman of Pennsylvania nominated Representative F.P. Blair as Speaker in 1861, but no records show whether Hickman was caucus chair.