The cover of this newspaper appeared in January 1856, but the illustration of electing a Speaker of the House was timely for weeks. The start of the 34th Congress began in December 1855, and saw the longest and most contentious Speaker election in House history. Two months and 133 ballots later, Nathaniel Banks of Massachusetts was chosen on February 2. The difficulty was directly attributed to rising conflict over slavery. Just five years later, Representatives from Southern states would walk out of the House altogether.