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55th Congress (1897–1899)

Congressional Profile

Total Membership:

  • 357 Representatives
  • 3 Delegates

Party Divisions:*

  • 124 Democrats
  • 206 Republicans
  • 22 Populists
  • 3 Silver Republicans
  • 1 Independent Republican
  • 1 Silver

*Party division totals are based on election day results.

Thomas Brackett Reed/tiles/non-collection/s/speaker_reed_2005_016_032.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
A three-term Speaker from Maine, Thomas Brackett Reed revised the rules of the House.

Congress Overview

The sinking of the battleship Maine in Cuba precipitated the Spanish–American War in 1898, which monopolized Congress’s attention during the 55th Congress (1897–1899). The Republican-controlled Congress quickly passed military preparedness legislation and declared support for Cuban independence. U.S. forces swiftly dispatched the Spanish navy and army. With the Senate’s approval, the Treaty of Paris ended the war and ceded a far-flung colonial empire to the U.S.—including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines—which Congress was now in charge of administering. Congress also annexed Hawaii and passed the highly protective Dingley Tariff.

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 55th 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:
Thomas B. Reed (R–Maine)
Republican Whip:
James A. Tawney (R–Minnesota)
Democratic Caucus Chairman:
James D. Richardson (D–Tennessee)
Republican Conference Chairman:
Charles H. Grosvenor (R–Ohio)
Clerk of the House:
Alexander McDowell
Sergeant at Arms:
Benjamin F. Russell
Chaplain of the House:
Henry N. Couden – Universalist
William J. Glenn
J. C . McElroy
Clerk at the Speaker's Table:
Asher C. Hinds

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