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47th United States Congress


47th United States Congress

47th United States Congress
46th ← → 48th

United States Capitol (1869)

Duration: March 4, 1881 – March 4, 1883

Senate President: Chester A. Arthur (Mar.–Sept. 1881)
Vacant (1881–1883)
Senate Pres. pro tem: Thomas F. Bayard
David Davis
George F. Edmunds
House Speaker: J. Warren Keifer
Members: 76 Senators
293 Representatives
8 Non-voting members
Senate Majority: Democratic
House Majority: Republican

Special: March 4, 1881 – May 20, 1881
Special: October 10, 1881 – October 29, 1881
1st: December 5, 1881 – August 8, 1882
2nd: December 4, 1882 – March 3, 1883

The Forty-seventh 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, 1881 to March 4, 1883, during the administration of U.S. President James A. Garfield, and the first year of the administration of his successor, U.S. President Chester A. Arthur. The apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the Ninth Census of the United States in 1870. The Senate had a Democratic majority, and the House had a Republican majority.


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.


(Shading shows control)
Total Vacant
End of the previous congress 42 0 31 2 75 1
Begin 37 1 36 1 75 1
End 37 76 0
Final voting share 48.7% 1.3% 48.7% 1.3%
Beginning of the next congress 36 2 38 0 76 0

House of Representatives

TOTAL members: 293


President of the Senate
Chester A. Arthur


House of Representatives

Major events

Major legislation


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


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 ended with this Congress, requiring reelection in 1880; Class 2 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring reelection in 1882; and Class 3 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1884.

House of Representatives

Members' names are preceded by their district numbers.

Changes in membership

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


  • Deaths: 2
  • Resignations: 8
  • Interim appointments: 1
  • Total replacements: 8
  • Total seats with changes: 10
Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation
Wisconsin (3) Vacant Vacancy in term as Senator Matthew H. Carpenter died in previous congress Angus Cameron (R) March 14, 1881
Maine (2) James G. Blaine (R) Resigned March 5, 1881 to become U.S. Secretary of State William P. Frye (R) March 15, 1881
Iowa (2) Samuel J. Kirkwood (R) Resigned March 7, 1881 to become U.S. Secretary of the Interior James W. McDill (R) March 8, 1881
Minnesota (2) William Windom (R) Resigned March 7, 1881 to become U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Alonzo J. Edgerton (R) March 12, 1881
New York (1) Thomas C. Platt (R) Resigned May 16, 1881 as a protest against federal appointments made in New York Warner Miller (R) July 27, 1881
New York (3) Roscoe Conkling (R) Resigned May 16, 1881 as a protest against federal appointments made in New York Elbridge G. Lapham (R) August 2, 1881
Rhode Island (1) Ambrose Burnside (R) Died September 13, 1881 Nelson W. Aldrich (R) October 5, 1881
Minnesota (2) Alonzo J. Edgerton (R) Interim appointee replaced by successor elected October 30, 1881 William Windom (R) November 15, 1881
Colorado (2) Henry M. Teller (R) Resigned April 17, 1882 to become U.S. Secretary of the Interior George M. Chilcott (R) April 17, 1882
Georgia (2) Benjamin H. Hill (D) Died August 16, 1882 M. Pope Barrow (D) November 15, 1882
Colorado (2) George M. Chilcott (R) Interim appointee replaced by successor elected January 27, 1883 Horace Tabor (R) January 27, 1883

House of Representatives

  • Deaths: 6
  • Resignations: 9
  • Contested elections: 8
  • Total replacements: 14
  • Total seats with changes: 22
District Vacator Reason for change Successor Date successor
Michigan 7th Vacant Rep. Omar D. Conger resigned during previous congress John T. Rich (R) April 5, 1881
New York 9th Vacant Rep. Fernando Wood resigned during previous congress John Hardy (D) December 5, 1881
Maine 2nd William P. Frye (R) Resigned March 17, 1881 after being elected to the US Senate Nelson Dingley, Jr. (R) September 12, 1881
New York 11th Levi P. Morton (R) Resigned March 21, 1881 after being appointed Minister to France Roswell P. Flower (D) November 8, 1881
South Carolina 2nd Michael P. O'Connor (D) Died April 26, 1881 during a contested election. Dibble presented credentials to replace him due to his death. Samuel Dibble (D) June 9, 1881
New York 22nd Warner Miller (R) Resigned July 26, 1881 after being elected to the US Senate Charles R. Skinner (R) November 8, 1881
New York 27th Elbridge G. Lapham (R) Resigned August 2, 1881 after being elected to the US Senate James W. Wadsworth (R) November 8, 1881
Rhode Island 1st Nelson W. Aldrich (R) Resigned October 5, 1881 after being elected to the US Senate Henry J. Spooner (R) December 5, 1881
Missouri 2nd Thomas Allen (D) Died April 8, 1882 James H. McLean (R) December 15, 1882
Mississippi 6th James R. Chalmers (D) Lost contested election April 29, 1882 John R. Lynch (R) April 29, 1882
South Carolina 2nd Samuel Dibble (D) Lost contested election May 31, 1882 during an election originally contested with Michael P. O'Connor. Dibble presented credentials to replace him until Mackey was determined to be the victor under terms of the original election. Edmund W. M. Mackey (IR) May 31, 1882
Florida 2nd Jesse J. Finley (D) Lost contested election June 1, 1882 Horatio Bisbee, Jr. (R) June 1, 1882
Alabama 8th Joseph Wheeler (D) Lost contested election June 3, 1882 William M. Lowe (GB) June 3, 1882
Illinois 5th Robert M. A. Hawk (R) Died June 29, 1882 Robert R. Hitt (R) November 7, 1882
South Carolina 5th George D. Tillman (D) Lost contested election July 19, 1882 Robert Smalls (R) July 19, 1882
Alabama 4th Charles M. Shelley (D) Election contested by James Q. Smith. Seat declared vacant July 20, 1882. Shelley re-elected to fill seat. Charles M. Shelley (D) November 7, 1882
Alabama 8th William M. Lowe (GB) Died October 12, 1882 Joseph Wheeler (D) January 15, 1883
Georgia 8th Alexander H. Stephens (D) Resigned November 4, 1882 after being elected Governor of Georgia Seaborn Reese (D) December 4, 1882
Ohio 16th Jonathan T. Updegraff (R) Died November 30, 1882 Joseph D. Taylor (R) January 2, 1883
Indiana 9th Godlove S. Orth (R) Died December 16, 1882 Charles T. Doxey (R) January 17, 1883
North Carolina 3rd John W. Shackelford (D) Died January 18, 1883 Vacant Not filled this term
Missouri 3rd Richard G. Frost (D) Lost contested election March 2, 1883 Gustavus Sessinghaus (R) March 2, 1883
Iowa 6th Marsena E. Cutts (R) Lost election contest March 3, 1883 John C. Cook (D) March 3, 1883



House of Representatives


  • 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

  • Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress
  • U.S. House of Representatives: House History
  • U.S. Senate: Statistics and Lists
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