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39th United States Congress


39th United States Congress

39th United States Congress
38th ← → 40th

United States Capitol (1869)

Duration: March 4, 1865 – March 4, 1867

Senate President: Andrew Johnson (Mar.–Apr. 1865)
Vacant (1865–1867)
Senate Pres. pro tem: Lafayette S. Foster
Benjamin Wade
House Speaker: Schuyler Colfax
Members: 54 Senators
193 Representatives
9 Non-voting members
Senate Majority: Republican
House Majority: Republican

Special: March 4, 1865 – March 11, 1865
1st: December 4, 1865 – July 28, 1866
2nd: December 3, 1866 – March 4, 1867

The Thirty-ninth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1865 to March 4, 1867, during the first month of Abraham Lincoln's fifth year as president, and the first two years of his successor, U.S. President Andrew Johnson.

The apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the Eighth Census of the United States in 1860. Both chambers had a Republican majority.


Major events

Major legislation

  • April 9, 1866: Civil Rights Act of 1866, Sess. 1, ch. 31, 14 Stat. 27
  • July 16, 1866: Freedmen's Bureau Bill, Sess. 1, ch. 200, 14 Stat. 173
  • July 23, 1866: Judicial Circuits Act, Sess. 1, ch. 210, 14 Stat. 209, reduced the number of United States circuit courts to nine and the number of Supreme Court justices to seven
  • July 25, 1866: An Act to revive the Grade of General in the United States Army, Sess. 1, ch. 232, 14 Stat. 223, (now called "5-star general"); Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant became the first to have this rank.
  • July 28, 1866: Metric Act of 1866, Sess. 1, ch. 301, 14 Stat. 339, legalized the use of the metric system for weights and measures in the United States.

Constitutional amendments

States admitted

  • March 1, 1867: Nebraska admitted as the 37th state, Sess. 2, ch. 36, 14 Stat. 391 (over president's veto)

Party summary

The count below identifies party affiliations at the beginning of the first session of this Congress, and includes members from vacancies and newly admitted states, when they were first seated. Changes resulting from subsequent replacements are shown below in the "Changes in membership" section.

During this Congress, Tennessee was readmitted to representation.


During this Congress, two seats were added for the new state of Nebraska.
(Shading shows control)
Total Vacant

End of the previous congress 10 33 3 4 50 22
Begin 11 37 0 1 49 23
End 9 41 1 3 54 20
Final voting share 16.7% 75.9% 1.9% 5.6%
Beginning of the next congress 8 45 0 0 53 21

House of Representatives

During this Congress, one seat was added for the new state of Nebraska.

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority/plurality caucus)


Other Vacant
End of previous Congress 72 84 2 9 16 0 183 56
Begin 40 132 1 4 14 0 191 51
End 41 134 13 193 49
Final voting share 21.2% 69.9% 2.1% 6.7% 0.0%
Beginning of the next Congress 45 140 1 0 0 2 188 55


President of the Senate
Andrew Johnson


House of Representatives


This list is arranged by chamber, then by state. Senators are listed in order of seniority, and Representatives are listed by district.


President pro tempore
Lafayette S. Foster
President pro tempore
Benjamin F. Wade

Senators were elected by the state legislatures every two years, with one-third beginning new six-year terms with each Congress. Preceding the names in the list below are Senate class numbers, which indicate the cycle of their election. In this Congress, Class 1 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring reelection in 1868; Class 2 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1870; and Class 3 meant their term ended in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1866.

House of Representatives

Speaker of the House
Schuyler Colfax

The names of members of the House of Representatives are preceded by their district numbers.

Changes in membership

The count below reflects changes from the beginning of the first session of this Congress.


  • Total seats with changes: 12
Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation
Maryland (3) Vacant Sen. Thomas H. Hicks died during previous congress John Creswell (UU) March 9, 1865
New Jersey (2) Vacant Presented credentials as Sen-elect John P. Stockton (D) March 15, 1865
Tennessee (2) Vacant Tennessee re-admitted to the Union Joseph S. Fowler (UU) July 24, 1866
Tennessee (1) David T. Patterson (U) July 28, 1866
Iowa (3) James Harlan (R) Resigned May 15, 1865 after being appointed United States Secretary of the Interior Samuel J. Kirkwood (R) January 13, 1866
Vermont (3) Jacob Collamer (R) Died November 9, 1865 Luke P. Poland (R) November 21, 1865
New Jersey (2) John P. Stockton (D) Election was in dispute. Senate declared seat vacant March 27, 1966 and new election called. Alexander G. Cattell (R) September 16, 1866
Vermont (1) Solomon Foot (R) Died March 28, 1866 George F. Edmunds (R) April 3, 1866
Kansas (2) James H. Lane (R) Died July 11, 1866 after being mortally wounded from a self-inflicted gunshot 10 days earlier Edmund G. Ross (R) July 19, 1866
New Hampshire (3) Daniel Clark (R) Resigned July 27, 1866 after being appointed a judge for a US district court in NH George G. Fogg (R) August 31, 1866
New Jersey (1) William Wright (D) Died November 1, 1866 Frederick T. Frelinghuysen (R) November 12, 1866
Nebraska (1) New seat Nebraska admitted to the Union March 1, 1867. Thomas Tipton (R) March 1, 1867
Nebraska (2) John M. Thayer (R)

House of Representatives

  • replacements: 9
    • Democratic: 1-seat net gain
    • Republican: 2-seat net gain
    • Unconditional Unionist: 1 seat net loss
    • Unionist: 0 net change
  • deaths: 4
  • resignations: 4
  • contested election: 3
  • seats from newly admitted states: 1
  • seats from re-admitted states: 8
  • Total seats with changes: 21
District Vacator Reason for change Successor Date successor
Tennessee 1st Vacant Tennessee re-admitted into the Union Nathaniel G. Taylor (U) July 24, 1866
Tennessee 2nd Horace Maynard (UU)
Tennessee 3rd William B. Stokes (UU)
Tennessee 4th Edmund Cooper (U)
Tennessee 5th William B. Campbell (U)
Tennessee 6th Samuel M. Arnell (UU)
Tennessee 7th Isaac R. Hawkins (U)
Tennessee 8th John W. Leftwich (UU)
Maryland 2nd Edwin H. Webster (UU) Resigned some time in July, 1865 after being appointed Collector of Customs for the port of Baltimore John L. Thomas, Jr. (UU) December 4, 1865
New York 16th Orlando Kellogg (R) Died August 24, 1865 Robert S. Hale (R) December 3, 1865
Massachusetts 6th Daniel W. Gooch (R) Resigned September 1, 1865 after being appointed Navy Agent for the port of Boston Nathaniel P. Banks (R) December 4, 1865
Pennsylvania 16th Alexander H. Coffroth (D) Lost contested election February 19, 1866 William H. Koontz (R) July 18, 1866
Indiana 7th Daniel W. Voorhees (D) Lost contested election February 23, 1866 Henry D. Washburn (R) February 23, 1866
New York 8th James Brooks (D) Lost contested election April 7, 1866 William E. Dodge (R) April 7, 1866
New York 3rd James Humphrey (R) Died June 16, 1866 John W. Hunter (D) December 4, 1866
Kentucky 6th Green C. Smith (UU) Resigned some time in July, 1866 after being appointed Governor of the Montana Territory. Andrew H. Ward (D) December 3, 1866
Kentucky 5th Lovell Rousseau (UU) Resigned July 21, 1866 after being reprimanded for his assault of Iowa Rep. Josiah B. Grinnell. Was re-elected to fill his own seat. Lovell Rousseau (UU) December 3, 1866
Kentucky 3rd Henry Grider (D) Died September 7, 1866 Elijah Hise (D) December 3, 1866
Pennsylvania 11th Philip Johnson (D) Died January 29, 1867 Vacant Not filled this term
Nebraska Territory At-large Phineas Hitchcock (R) Nebraska achieved statehood March 1, 1867 District eliminated
Nebraska At-large New State Nebraska admitted to the Union March 1, 1867. Seat remained vacant until March 2, 1867 Turner M. Marquette (R) March 2, 1867



House of Representatives


  1. ^ "The Constitution: Amendments 11–27". National Archives. Archived from the original on 5 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 

Further reading

  • Aynes, Richard L. "The 39th Congress (1865–1867) and the 14th Amendment: Some Preliminary Perspectives," Akron Law Review, 42 (no. 4, 2009), 1019–49.
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. 
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1982). The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. 

External links

  • Statutes at Large, 1789–1875
  • Senate Journal, First Forty-three Sessions of Congress
  • House Journal, First Forty-three Sessions of Congress
  • Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress
  • U.S. House of Representatives: House History
  • U.S. Senate: Statistics and Lists
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