*Party division totals are based on election day results.
Following the 1862 wartime elections, the Republican majority in the House narrowed while it grew in the Senate. To pay for the Union war effort, legislation creating America’s first progressive income tax took effect and the 38th Congress (1863–1865) sent a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery to the states for review. Anticipating its ratification, Congress created the Freedmen’s Bureau to assist former slaves making the transition into full citizenship. Republican majorities authorized the transcontinental railroad, and welcomed West Virginia and Nevada into the Union. President Abraham Lincoln’s 1864 pocket veto of the Wade-Davis Bill stifled other congressional reconstruction plans.
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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.
3Representative Morrill is the first officially designated Republican Conference chairman. There exists no clear evidence of formal chairmanships of Republican organizations in earlier Congresses.