Historical Highlights

Speaker of the House Charles Crisp of Georgia

August 07, 1893
Speaker of the House Charles Crisp of Georgia Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
A former Confederate soldier, Charles Crisp of Georgia served seven terms in the House of Representatives.
On this date, Charles Crisp of Georgia was elected Speaker of the House for a second term. When the Democrats took control of the House during the 52nd Congress (1891–1893), Crisp narrowly won his party's nomination for the Speakership (on the 30th ballot). He easily won re-election as Speaker for the 53rd Congress (1893–1895) after earning 212 votes, besting two opponents: the former and future Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed of Maine who garnered 121 votes, and Jeremiah (Jerry) Simpson of Kansas who collected nine votes. “Representatives, profoundly grateful for this mark of your confidence, I shall strive to prove in some degree worthy of it by an honest effort to discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter with fidelity, with courtesy, and with the strictest impartiality,” Crisp remarked on the opening day of the new Congress. Called into session in August by President Grover Cleveland to deal with a looming financial crisis, the House, under the direction of Speaker Crisp, backed the President’s plea to repeal the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. Crisp’s tenure as Speaker ended when Republicans regained control of the House in the 54th Congress (1895–1897). While running for the Senate in 1896, Crisp’s health rapidly declined. “His readiness of speech in the House, his capacity as a debater, and his familiarity with parliamentary rules and the practice of the House, secured for him a degree of respect from his antagonists on the Republican side that was not extended to any other Democratic member during the last seven years,” the New York Times reported after his death on October 23, 1896.

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