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61st Congress (1909–1911)

Congressional Profile

Total Membership:

  • 391 Representatives
  • 4 Delegates
  • 3 Resident Commissioners

Party Divisions:*

  • 172 Democrats
  • 219 Republicans

*Party division totals are based on election day results.

Joseph Gurney Cannon/tiles/non-collection/s/speaker_cannon_2005_016_035.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
A 23 term Member from Illinois, Joe Cannon earned the nickname Czar Cannon during his four terms as Speaker.

Congress Overview

Republican infighting disrupted the 61st Congress (1909–1911), as Speaker Joseph Cannon of Illinois made only limited committee appointments until President William Howard Taft’s priority tariff bill passed. Cannon then made the bulk of committee assignments depending on how Members voted on the tariff. A coalition of insurgent Republicans and Democrats formed to break Cannon’s power by removing the Speaker from the Rules Committee and shifting the power to make committee assignments. Despite the House conflict, Congress passed the 16th Amendment authorizing an income tax. Other progressive legislation regulated campaign financing and the transportation and communications industries.

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 61st 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:
Joseph G. Cannon (R–Illinois)
Majority Leader:
Sereno E. Payne (R–New York)
Minority Leader:
James Beauchamp Clark (D–Missouri)
Democratic Whip:
N/A 1
Republican Whip:
John W. Dwight (R–New York)
Democratic Caucus Chairman:
Henry D. Clayton (D–Alabama) 2
Republican Conference Chairman:
Frank D. Currier (R–New Hampshire)
Clerk of the House:
Alexander McDowell
Sergeant at Arms:
Henry Casson
Chaplain of the House:
Henry N. Couden – Universalist
Frank B. Lyon
Samuel Langum
Clerk at the Speaker's Table:
Asher C. Hinds 3

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


1For this period, there is no official record in the minutes of the Democratic Caucus or elsewhere of the name of the Democratic Whip.

2Caucus records are contradictory for this period. They show the election of Representative James Hay as chairman on January 19, 1911, but do not mention a resignation by incumbent chairman Clayton, nor do they specify that Hay was elected chairman for the new Congress. Later, they show the election of Representative Burleson on April 11, 1911.

3Resigned March 3, 1911, to become Member of the 62nd Congress. See, Washington Post, March 3, 1911: 4.