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 Flag of the United States 1790
United States House of Representatives elections, 1789
All 59 seats to the United States House of Representatives
December 22, 1788 - August 31, 1790
Majority party Minority party
Muhlenberg
Leader Frederick Muhlenberg


Party Pro-Administration Anti-Administration
Leader's seat Pennsylvania-AL


Seats won 37 28

Incumbent Speaker
None

The U.S. House elections, 1789 were the first elections for the United States House of Representatives in 1789, which coincided with the election of President George Washington. Some candidates were chosen in 1788, others in 1789. Dates and manners of elections were set by the states. Actual political parties did not yet exist, but new members of Congress were informally categorized as either "pro-Administration" (i.e., pro-Washington and pro-Hamilton) or "anti-Administration."

The first session of the first House of Representatives came to order on March 4, 1789 with only thirteen members. The requisite quorum (thirty members out of fifty-nine) was not present until April 1, 1789. The first order of business was to elect a Speaker. On the first ballot, Frederick Muhlenberg was elected Speaker by a majority of votes. The business of the first session was largely a matter of procedure rather than policy.

It should be noted that in this period each state fixed its own date for a congressional general election. This article covers all such state elections to the 1st Congress. 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).

Election datesEdit

State Type Date Total
seats[1]
Pro-Administration Anti-Administration
Connecticut At-Large (x5) December 22, 1788 5 5 0
Delaware At-Large (x1) January 7, 1789 1 1 0
Georgia At-Large/District [2] (3x1) February 9, 1789 3 0 3
Maryland At-Large/District [3] (6x1) January 7–11, 1789 6 2 4
Massachusetts District [4] (8x1) December 18, 1788 8 6 2
New Hampshire At-Large [5] (x3) December 15, 1788 3 2 1
New Jersey At-Large (x4) February 11-April 27, 1789 4 4 0
New York District (6x1) March 3–5, 1789 6 3 3
North Carolina [6] District (5x1) February 4-5; March 8–9, 1790 5 2 3
Pennsylvania At-Large (x8) November 26, 1788 8 6 2
Rhode Island [7] At-Large (x1) August 31, 1790 1 1 0
South Carolina District (5x1) November 24–25, 1788 5 2 3
Virginia District (10x1) February 2, 1789 10 3 7
Totals A-L:22, A-L/D:9, D:34 1788 - 1790 65 37 28

Overall resultsEdit

Party Total
seats[8]
Change Seat
percentage
Pro-Administration Party 37 N/A 56.9%
Anti-Administration Party 28 N/A 43.1%
Totals 65 N/A 100%

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Initial apportionment of U.S. House seats set out in the text of the constitution of 1787.
  2. GA had three Congressmen elected by the whole state electorate, who had to choose one candidate from each district.
  3. MD had six Congressmen elected by the whole state electorate, who had to choose one candidate from each district.
  4. MA had a majority vote requirement for election. Four Congressmen were elected in the general election and four in subsequent trials.
  5. NH had a majority vote requirement for election. No Congressmen were elected in the general election and three were returned at a subsequent trial.
  6. NC ratified the constitution on November 21, 1789.
  7. RI ratified the constitution on May 29, 1790. It had a majority vote requirement for victory, which was met at the general election.
  8. Office of the Clerk
  • Source for election dates: United States Congressional Elections, 1788-1997: The Official Results, by Michael J. Dubin (McFarland and Company, 1998).

External linksEdit


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