United States House of Representatives elections, 1790

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

United States House of Representatives elections, 1790
United States
1789 ←
April 27, 1790 - October 11, 1791[1]→ 1792

All 67[2] seats to the United States House of Representatives
34 seats were needed for a majority
 Majority partyMinority party
LeaderJonathan TrumbullFrederick Muhlenberg
Leader's seatConnecticut-4thPennsylvania-2nd
Last election3728
Seats won3930[3]
Seat changeIncrease 2Increase 2

Speaker before election

Frederick Muhlenberg

Elected Speaker

Jonathan Trumbull

Jump to: navigation, search
United States House of Representatives elections, 1790
United States
1789 ←
April 27, 1790 - October 11, 1791[1]→ 1792

All 67[2] seats to the United States House of Representatives
34 seats were needed for a majority
 Majority partyMinority party
LeaderJonathan TrumbullFrederick Muhlenberg
Leader's seatConnecticut-4thPennsylvania-2nd
Last election3728
Seats won3930[3]
Seat changeIncrease 2Increase 2

Speaker before election

Frederick Muhlenberg

Elected Speaker

Jonathan Trumbull

Elections to the House of Representatives for the 2nd Congress took place in 1790 and 1791, in the middle of President George Washington's first term. While formal political parties still did not exist, coalitions of pro-Washington (pro-Administration) representatives and anti-Administration representatives each gained two seats as a result of the addition of new states to the union. Speaker Frederick Muhlenberg, who had led the Pro-Administrationists in 1789, switched loyalties to the Anti-Administrationists during the tenure of the 1st Congress. He failed to win election to the Speakership as their leader as a result of these elections, and was succeeded by Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., who became the 2nd Speaker of the House.

Election summaries[edit]

In this period, each state fixed its own date for congressional general elections, as early as April 27, 1790 (in New York) and as late as October 11, 1791 (in Pennsylvania). Elections to a Congress took place both in the even-numbered year before and in the odd-numbered year when the Congress convened. In some states, the congressional delegation was not elected until after the legal start of the Congress (on the 4th day of March in the odd-numbered year). The first session of this Congress was convened in Philadelphia on October 24, 1791.

Kentucky and Vermont became states during the 2nd Congress, adding two seats each.[4] The legislation admitted Vermont was passed at the end of the 1st Congress taking effect on March 4, 1791, the first day of the 2nd Congress, so that Vermont was represented from the start of the Congress, while Kentucky was unrepresented until the 2nd session.

ConnecticutAt-largeSeptember 20, 179055Steady0Steady
DelawareAt-largeNovember 8, 179011Steady0Steady
MarylandAt-large/District[5] (6)October 4, 179063Increase13Decrease1
MassachusettsDistrict (8)October 4, 1790[6]87Increase11Decrease1
New HampshireAt-largeAugust 30, 179033Increase10Decrease1
New YorkDistrict (6)April 27–29, 179064Increase12Decrease1
Rhode IslandAt-largeOctober 19, 179011Steady0Steady
South CarolinaDistrict (5)October 12, 179053Increase12Decrease1
VirginiaDistrict (10)September 1, 1790102Decrease18Increase1
1791 elections
GeorgiaDistrict[7] (3)January 3, 179130Steady3Steady
New JerseyAt-largeJanuary 26, 179144Steady0Steady
North CarolinaDistrict (5)January 28, 179152Steady3Steady
PennsylvaniaDistrict[8] (8)October 11, 179184Decrease24Increase2
VermontDistrict (2)July 13, 1791[9]20Steady2Increase2
1792 elections
KentuckyDistrict (2)September 7, 179220Steady2Increase2
Increase 230[3]
Increase 2

House composition[edit]

End of the last Congress[edit]


Beginning of the next Congress[edit]

A= Anti-Administration
P= Pro-Administration
V= Vacant

Late elections to the 1st Congress[edit]

North Carolina and Rhode Island ratified the Constitution on November 21, 1789, and May 29, 1790, respectively. Neither state elected congressional representatives until after their admission to the union.

North Carolina[edit]

North Carolina 1
Also known as Roanoke division
Anti-Administration winJohn B. Ashe (A) 48.9%
Nathaniel Macon (A) 41.5%
Stephen Moore 8.9%
Parsons[10] 0.7%
North Carolina 2
Also known as Edenton and New Bern division
Anti-Administration winHugh Williamson (A) 73.9%
Stephen Cabarrus 26.0%
North Carolina 3
Also known as Cape Fear division
Anti-Administration winTimothy Bloodworth (A) 98.4%
Benjamin Smith 1.6%
North Carolina 4
Also known as Yadkin division
Pro-Administration winJohn Steele (P)[11]
Joseph MacDowell
Waightstill Avery
North Carolina 5
Also known as Western division
Pro-Administration winJohn Sevier (P)[11]

The 5th district (or Western Division) covered areas beyond the Appalachian Mountains that were ceded to the federal government in May 1790 to form the Southwest Territory (later the State of Tennessee) during the 1st Congress. John Sevier, who held the seat for the 5th district, was permitted to retain his seat for the remainder of the 1st Congress in spite of the fact that the territory he represented was no longer part of a state. North Carolina would subsequently re-district to choose representatives for the 2nd Congress.

Rhode Island[edit]

Rhode Island At-LargePro-Administration winBenjamin Bourne (P) 72.7%
Job Comstock 23.2%
James Sheldon 3.4%

Complete returns[edit]

Kentucky was admitted during the 2nd Congress and elected its first representatives in 1792


Connecticut At-Large
5 seats on a general ticket
Benjamin HuntingtonPro-Administration1788Lost re-election
Pro-Administration hold
Roger Sherman (P) 14.9%
Pierpont Edwards 11.3%
James Hillhouse 10.2%
Jonathan Sturges (P) 8.7%
Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. (P) 8.7%

Tapping Reeve 8.4%
Jeremiah Wadsworth[13] (P) 8.3%
Amasa Learned[13] (P) 7.4%
Stephen M. Mitchell (P) 7.2%
Benjamin Huntington 6.9%
John Chester 4.1%
James Davenport (P) 4.0%
Roger ShermanPro-Administration1788Re-elected
Jonathan SturgesPro-Administration1788Re-elected
Jonathan Trumbull, Jr.Pro-Administration1788Re-elected
Jeremiah WadsworthPro-Administration1788Lost re-election
Pro-Administration hold

There were two subsequent special elections. The first was held to fill the vacancy left by Pierpont Edwards (P) declining to serve and was won by Jeremiah Wadsworth (P). The second was held to fill the vacancy left by Roger Sherman (P)'s election to the Senate and was won by Amasa Learned (P).


Delaware At-LargeJohn M. ViningPro-Administration1789Re-electedJohn M. Vining (P) 50.3%
Joshua Clayton (P) 28.9%
Thomas Duff 20.8%


Georgia switched to a conventional district system for the Second Congress. At the time, the districts were not numbered, but are retroactively renumbered as the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively here.

Georgia 1
Called the Southern (or Eastern) District
James JacksonAnti-Administration1789Lost re-election
Anti-Administration hold
Anthony Wayne (A) 50.4%
James Jackson (A) 49.5%
Others 0.2%
Georgia 2
Called the Middle District
Abraham BaldwinAnti-Administration1789Re-electedAbraham Baldwin (A) 56.2%
Thomas P. Carnes (A)
James Jackson (A) 1.2%
John Jones 0.3%
Georgia 3
Called the Northern (or Western) District
George MathewsAnti-Administration1789Lost re-election
Anti-Administration hold
Francis Willis (A) 66.5%
George Mathews (A) 33.5%

Anthony Wayne's election to the 1st district was subsequently challenged, and after investigation, the House determined that electoral fraud had occurred. Anthony's seat was declared void and a special election was held for his successor which was won by John Milledge (A)


Under Maryland law for the election for the 1st and 2nd Congresses "candidates were elected at-large but had to be residents of a specific district with the statewide vote determining winners from each district."

Maryland 1Michael J. StoneAnti-Administration1789Lost re-election
Pro-Administration gain
Philip Key (P) 56.8%
Michael J. Stone (A) 43.2%
Maryland 2Joshua SeneyAnti-Administration1789Re-electedJoshua Seney (A) 57.1%
James Tilghman 42.9%
Maryland 3Benjamin ConteeAnti-Administration1789Lost re-election
Pro-Administration gain
William Pinkney (P) 61.6%
Benjamin Contee (A) 38.4%
Maryland 4William SmithAnti-Administration1789Retired
Anti-Administration hold
Samuel Sterett (A) 100%
Maryland 5George GalePro-Administration1789Lost re-election
Pro-Administration hold
William V. Murray (P) 56.4%
George Gale (P) 43.6%
Maryland 6Daniel CarrollPro-Administration1789Lost re-election
Anti-Administration gain
Upton Sheredine (A) 55.5%
Daniel Carroll (P) 44.5%

Joshua Seney (A) of the 2nd district resigned December 6, 1792 to accept a judicial position and was replaced in a special election by William Hindman (P)

William Pinkney (P) of the 3rd district resigned due to questions of ineligibility due to his residence[14] and was replaced in a special election by John Francis Mercer (A).


Massachusetts' law at the time required a majority for election. This condition was met in four of the eight districts, the remaining four required between 2 and 8 ballots for election. Only the first and last are listed in this section to conserve space. Information on the intermediate ballots are available at United States House of Representatives elections in Massachusetts, 1790.

First ballotFinal ballot[15]
Massachusetts 1Fisher AmesPro-Administration1788Re-electedFisher Ames (P) 75.1%
Benjamin Austin 16.1%
Thomas Dawes 8.8%
Massachusetts 2Benjamin GoodhuePro-Administration1788Re-electedBenjamin Goodhue (P) 88.8%
Samuel Holten 11.2%
Massachusetts 3Elbridge GerryAnti-Administration1788Re-electedElbridge Gerry (A) 60.4%
Nathaniel Gorham 39.6%
Massachusetts 4Theodore SedgwickPro-Administration1788Re-electedTheodore Sedgwick (P) 75.0%
Samuel Lyman (P) 16.3%
Scattering 8.7%
Massachusetts 5Previous incumbent George Partridge (P) resigned August 14, 1790Pro-Administration holdShearjashub Bourne (P) 41.8%
Thomas Davis 37.3%
Joshua Thomas 20.9%
Shearjashub Bourne (P) 65.3%
Joshua Thomas 27.2%
Thomas Davis 7.5%
Massachusetts 6George Leonard
Redistricted from the 7th district
Pro-Administration1788Re-electedWalter Spooner 25.5%
Phanuel Bishop (A) 22.6%
George Leonard (P) 22.3%
Peleg Coffin, Jr. (P) 16.7%
David Cobb 12.9%
George Leonard (P) 55.6%
Phanuel Bishop (A) 27.7%
Peleg Coffin, Jr. (P) 16.7%
Massachusetts 7Jonathan Grout
Redistricted from the 8th district
Anti-Administration1788Lost re-election
Pro-Administration gain
Jonathan Grout (A) 39.1%
Artemas Ward (P) 39.0%
John Sprague 14.5%
Nathan Tyloer 7.4%
Artemas Ward (P) 56.6%
Jonathan Grout (A) 43.4%
Massachusetts 8George Thatcher
Redistricted from the 6th district
Pro-Administration1788Re-electedGeorge Thatcher (P) 37.2%
William Lithgow 22.3%
Nathaniel Wells 16.1%
Josiah Thatcher 9.2%
William Martin 4.9%
Arthur Noble 3.6%
Daniel Davis 1.8%
Peleg Wadsworth (P) 1.5%
George Thatcher (P) 52.3%
William Lithgow 41.1%
Nathaniel Wells 6.6%

New Hampshire[edit]

New Hampshire at-large
3 seats on a general ticket
Abiel FosterPro-Administration1789 (special)Lost re-election
Pro-Administration hold
Samuel Livermore (P[16]) 25.1%
Jeremiah Smith (P) 13.1%
Nicholas Gilman (P) 11.8%

John Samuel Sherburne (A) 11.1%
Abiel Foster (P) 8.5%
James Sheafe (P?) 7.8%
Nathaniel Peabody 7.0%
Others 15.5%
Samuel LivermoreAnti-Administration1788Re-elected
as Pro-Administration
Nicholas GilmanPro-Administration1788Re-elected

New Jersey[edit]

New Jersey At-large
4 seats on a general ticket
Elias BoudinotPro-Administration1789Re-electedAbraham Clark (P) 19.9%
Jonathan Dayton (P) 13.8%
Elias Boudinot (P) 13.7%
Aaron Kitchell (P) 8.8%

Lambert Cadwalader (P) 7.0%
James Linn 5.5%
Thomas Sinnickson (P) 5.1%
Robert Hoops 4.9%
Thomas Henderson 3.7%
John Witherspoon 2.7%
John Beatty (P) 2.3%
John Sheppard 1.9%
Joseph Ellis 1.7%
Robert Ogden 1.5%
James Schureman (P) 1.5%
John Harring 1.1%
John Hugg 1.1%
Lambert CadwaladerPro-Administration1789Lost re-election
Pro-Administration hold
James SchuremanPro-Administration1789Lost re-election
Pro-Administration hold
Thomas SinnicksonPro-Administration1789Lost re-election
Pro-Administration hold

New York[edit]

New York's districts were not numbered at the time, numbering below is retroactive.

New York 1William FloydAnti-Administration1789Lost re-election
Pro-Administration gain
James Townsend (P) 35.5%
John Vanderbilt (P) 19.6%
William Floyd (A) 19.1%
Thomas Tredwell[13] (A) 17.0%
Ezra L'Hommedieu (A) 8.8%
New York 2John LaurancePro-Administration1789Re-electedJohn Laurance (P) 98.4%
Melancton Smith (A) 1.6%
New York 3Egbert BensonPro-Administration1789Re-electedEgbert Benson (P) 60.8%
Theodorus Bailey (A) 39.2%
New York 4John HathornAnti-Administration1789Lost re-election
Anti-Administration hold
Cornelius C. Schoonmaker (A) 52.1%
Peter Van Gaasbeck (P) 43.7%
John Hathorn (A) 3.5%
Christopher Tappen (A) 0.8%
New York 5Peter SilvesterPro-Administration1789Re-electedPeter Silvester (P) 58.4%
John Livingston (A) 41.6%
New York 6Jeremiah Van RensselaerAnti-Administration1789Lost re-election
Pro-Administration gain
James Gordon (P) 59.0%
Jeremiah Van Rensselaer (A) 41.0%

A vacancy occurred in the 1st district when Representative-election James Townsend (P) died on May 24, 1790, prior to the start of the 2nd Congress. A special election was held to fill the resulting vacancy, which was won by Thomas Tredwell (A)

North Carolina[edit]

Due to the cession of North Carolina's trans-Appalachian territory to form the Southwest Territory, the territory of the old 5th district was lost. North Carolina retained the same number of Representatives, and so it redistricted for the Second Congress.

North Carolina 1
Also called Yadkin Division
John Steele
Redistricted from the 4th district
Pro-Administration1790Re-electedJohn Steele (P) 87.3%
Joseph MacDowell (A) 12.7%
North Carolina 2
Also called Centre Division
None (District created)New seat
Anti-Administration gain
Nathaniel Macon (A)[11]
Alexander Mebane (A)
North Carolina 3John Baptista Ashe
Redistricted from the 1st district
Anti-Administration1790Re-electedJonathan B. Ashe (A)[11]
North Carolina 4
Also called Albemarle Division
Hugh Williamson
Redistricted from the 2nd district
Anti-Administration1790Re-electedHugh Williamson (A)[17]
Charles Johnson (A)
North Carolina 5
Also called Cape Fear Division
Timothy Bloodworth
Redistricted from the 3rd district
Anti-Administration1790Lost re-election
Pro-Administration gain
William B. Grove (P) 65.2%
Timothy Bloodworth (A) 34.6%
Benjamin Smith (P) 0.2%


Pennsylvania had elected its Representatives at-large in the 1st Congress, but switched to using districts in the 2nd Congress. Five incumbents ran for re-election, four of whom won, while three others retired leaving three open seats. Two districts had no incumbents residing in them, while one (the 8th) had a single representative who declined to run for re-election and one (the 2nd) had three incumbents, only one of whom ran for re-election.

Pennsylvania 1Thomas Fitzsimons
redistricted from the at-large district
Pro-Administration1788Re-electedThomas Fitzsimons (P) 85.1%
Charles Thompson (A) 14.9%
Pennsylvania 2Frederick Muhlenberg
redistricted from the at-large district
as Anti-Administration
Frederick Muhlenberg (A[19])[11]
Amos Greg (A)
"Dr." Jones
George Clymer
redistricted from the at-large district
Anti-Administration gain
Henry Wynkoop
redistricted from the at-large district
Anti-Administration gain
Pennsylvania 3John Peter Muhlenberg
redistricted from the at-large district
Anti-Administration1788Lost re-election
Pro-Administration gain
Israel Jacobs (P) 61.2%
John Peter Muhlenberg (A) 38.8%
Pennsylvania 4Daniel Hiester
redistricted from the at-large district
Anti-Administration1788Re-electedDaniel Hiester (A)[11]
Pennsylvania 5None (District created)Pro-Administration gainJohn W. Kittera (P)[11]
Pennsylvania 6None (District created)Anti-Administration gainAndrew Gregg (A) 51.2%
John Allison (P) 18.3%
James McLean (A) 10.9%
Thomas Johnston (P) 10.3%
William Montgomery (A) 9.3%
Pennsylvania 7Thomas Hartley
redistricted from the at-large district
Pro-Administration1788Re-electedThomas Hartley (P) 71.1%
William Irvine (A) 28.9%
Pennsylvania 8Thomas Scott
redistricted from the at-large district
Anti-Administration gain
William Findley (A) 65.2%
John Woods (P) 34.8%

Rhode Island[edit]

Rhode Island held elections for the Second Congress on October 18, 1790, about a month and a half after elections for the First Congress due to the late ratification of the Constitution

Rhode Island At-LargeBenjamin BournePro-Administration1790Re-electedBenjamin Bourne (P) 56.6%
Paul Mumford 33.0%
James Sheldon 10.1%

South Carolina[edit]

South Carolina 1
Also known as the Charleston Division
William L. SmithPro-Administration1788Re-electedWilliam L. Smith (P)[11]
South Carolina 2
Also known as the Beaufort Division
Aedanus BurkeAnti-Administration1788Retired?
Pro-Administration gain
Robert Barnwell (P)[11]
South Carolina 3
Also known as the Georgetown Division
Daniel HugerPro-Administration1788Re-electedDaniel Huger (P)[11]
South Carolina 4
Also known as the Camden Division
Thomas SumterAnti-Administration1788Re-electedThomas Sumter (A)[11]
South Carolina 5
Also known as the Ninety-Six Division
Thomas Tudor TuckerAnti-Administration1788Re-electedThomas Tudor Tucker (A)[11]


Vermont was admitted at the end of the First Congress, with the admission taking effect at the start of the Second Congress. Vermont was entitled to elect two representatives. Vermont law at the time required a majority to win an office. In the 1st district, no candidate won a majority, necessitating a run-off.

First ballotSecond ballot
Vermont 1
Called the Western Division
Anti-Administration winMatthew Lyon (A?) 28.7%
Israel Smith (A) 24.6%
Isaac Tichenor (P) 22.7%
Samuel Hitchcock 18.1%
Ira Allen 2.3%
Ebenezer Marvin 1.6%
Gideon Olin 1.3%
Others 0.7%
Israel Smith (A) 68.4%
Matthew Lyon (A?) 29.4%
Isaac Tichenor 2.2%
Vermont 2
Called the Eastern Division
Anti-Administration winNathaniel Niles (A)[11]
Stephen Jacob
Daniel Buck (P)


Virginia 1Alexander WhitePro-Administration1789Re-electedAlexander White (P) 93.3%
J.P. Duvall 6.7%
Virginia 2John BrownAnti-Administration1789Re-electedJohn Brown (A)[11]
James M. Marshall
Virginia 3Andrew MooreAnti-Administration1789Re-electedAndrew Moore (A)[11]
Virginia 4Richard Bland LeePro-Administration1789Re-electedRichard Bland Lee (P) 62.1%
Arthur Lee 37.9%
Virginia 5James Madison, Jr.Anti-Administration1789Re-electedJames Madison, Jr. (A) 97.8%
James Monroe (A) 2.2%
Virginia 6Isaac ColesAnti-Administration1789Retired
Anti-Administration hold
Abraham B. Venable (A)[11]
Charles Lintch
Charles Clay
Virginia 7John PageAnti-Administration1789Re-electedJohn Page (A)[11]
Meriwether Smith
Francis Corbin
Henry Lee
Virginia 8Josiah ParkerAnti-Administration1789Re-electedJosiah Parker (A) 76.1%
Isaac Avery 23.9%
Virginia 9William B. GilesAnti-Administration1790 (special)Re-electedWilliam B. Giles (A) 59.3%
Thomas Edmonds 40.6%
John Mason 0.1%
Virginia 10Samuel GriffinPro-Administration1789Re-elected
as Anti-Administration
Samuel Griffin (A[20])[11]

John Brown of the 2nd district resigned June 1, 1792 after being elected as Senator for the new state of Kentucky. The territory he represented covered the area that had been admitted as Kentucky (which was entitled to two seats), and therefore his seat was left vacant.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Excluding states that joined during the Second Congress
  2. ^ 2 more seats were added by the admission of new States after the start of this Congress
  3. ^ a b c Includes late elections
  4. ^ Stat. 191
  5. ^ Maryland had six representatives elected by the whole state electorate, who had to choose one candidate from each district.
  6. ^ Massachusetts electoral law required a majority for election, a total of additional trials were required in 4 districts, held between November 26, 1790 and April 2, 1792
  7. ^ Changed from combined at-large/district method
  8. ^ Changed from at-large method
  9. ^ A majority was required for election, which was not met in one of the districts necessitating a second election on September 6, 1791
  10. ^ Source does not give first name
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Source does not give numbers of votes or has incomplete data
  12. ^ a b c d Only candidates with at least 1% of the vote listed
  13. ^ a b c Won subsequent special election
  14. ^ Membership roster for the 2nd Congress
  15. ^ The 5th and 7th districts required 2 ballots, the 8th district required 4, and the 6th district required 8 ballots
  16. ^ Anti-Administration in the 1st Congress, Livermore was Pro-Administration in the 2nd Congress
  17. ^ Won by a margin of 896 votes
  18. ^ Wilkes University Elections Statistics Project
  19. ^ Changed from Pro-Administration to Anti-Administration between the 1st and 2nd Congresses
  20. ^ Had been Pro-Administration previous election, and would switch back to Pro-Administration in the next election

External links[edit]