Databases of U.S. and Confederate Senators
compiled by David Bratman
Databases last updated: March 12, 2010
Copyright 2000-2010, David Bratman
The web pages linked to from here contain various sortings and fields of a database listing the names and dates of service of all persons who served in the U.S. Senate from its founding in 1789 to the date of the last update, plus all persons who served in the C.S.A. Senate during its lifetime of 1862 to 1865. Comments and corrections are welcome at the address on my home page.
Universe of data: Who is and who is not a senator, and when they served, is not always precisely clear. The Senate is the judge of its members' qualifications, and when persons present their credentials to the body, the Senate may choose not to seat them immediately if there are any questions about their rights to be there. (On a very few occasions, the Senate has seated persons who were subsequently declared not entitled to a seat.) When persons not seated immediately are subsequently seated, the Senate customarily backdates their beginning of service at least to the date of presentation of credentials (or as far as the date of appointment or election; see below). Persons whose right to a seat is unquestioned are counted as beginning their service on their date of appointment or election (if chosen to fill a mid-term vacancy) regardless of when they take their seats, or even whether they ever take their seats at all (which some short-term fill-in senators have not done).
These practices have led me to the following criteria for inclusion:
- All persons actually seated in the Senate are included, whether subsequently judged entitled to a seat or not.
- All persons with unquestioned rights to seats they did not take are included. Such persons are those who died or whose terms or temporary appointments expired before the Senate first came into session after their term began or their appointment was made. Such persons are counted as senators in all official lists. In this database, they are identified by a note such as "Did not qualify" or "Never seated" in the Date1 Comments field.
- Persons who were sole claimants to seats, but whom the Senate or the appropriate committee judged, on a specific date, not entitled to a seat, or who died or withdrew their credentials before the Senate could dispose of their case, are included. Such persons are usually not counted as senators in official lists. In this database, they are identified by a note such as "Did not qualify" or "Never seated" in the Date1 Comments field, and by "not entitled to seat" or a similar note (if appropriate) in the Date2 Comments field.
- Persons who were sole claimants to seats, but whose credentials were tabled or otherwise never acted on by the Senate, are not included, except in a few cases where their credentials were later resubmitted and acted upon. Most of these were from Confederate states seeking readmission.
- Persons not seated, holding competing credentials for the same seat, are not included, unless one of them was subsequently seated with a backdated beginning of service.
- Unsuccessful claimants against seated senators are not included.
- Persons who died or resigned their claims after election but before their terms began are not included.
- Persons elected on the "Tennessee Plan" as lobbying senators for territories not admitted to the Union are not included as such. Some were subsequently seated when their states were admitted, and are included with their service beginning at that time.
- Each separate period of service in the Senate by one person is a separate record in the database, even if no other person held the seat in the interval. However, if a person held both seats from a state successively with no break in service, there is only one record.
- Alphabetically. By surname of senator. See comments on the Name field.
- Chronologically. By date of taking office, 1789-present (see comments on the Date1 field). Persons taking office on the same date are sub-sorted alphabetically by name; no attempt has been made to sub-sort them by seniority, as Senate rules for this situation have varied over time and between parties. Numerical Congress identifications are for senators beginning service during that Congress, not necessarily those actually taking their seats then, and not all senators serving during that Congress.
- Seats. For each state, each successive senator who has served from it. Arranged by state, in alphabetical order, and sub-arranged by date of taking office. See comments on the C field for determining which senators held each of a state's two seats.
- Name: The senator's full legal name, as determined from any available source. Information in this database, especially for recent senators, is much fuller than in the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. If the full name is not available, the fullest available abbreviation is used. Both middle and maiden names are included when available for women known by married surnames. Extra-name identifications (Jr., III, etc.) are not consistently added: they are usually included if the senator customarily used them, or if needed to distinguish between two related senators with the same name. Unrelated senators with the same name are distinguished, e.g., as "Lloyd, James (of MA)" and "Lloyd, James (of MD)". Numbers at the end of the Name field indicate successive periods of service in the U.S. Senate by the same person; the letter "C" in this place indicates service in the Confederate Senate by any person, whether he also served in the U.S. Senate or not.
- ST: The two-letter USMARC abbreviation of the state of service, identical with the postal abbreviation except for Nebraska (NB instead of NE).
- Party: Abbreviation for party affiliation. If the senator changed parties during a period of service, or if one party was succeeded by another, the two abbreviations are dashed together. Information is from Martis (see Bibliography), except that his 1780s/90s and 1820s pro- and anti-administration parties have been folded in to the successor parties, and his place-holding 1850s Opposition has been folded into whatever parties the senators affiliated with prior to and after that flux period. When a senator claimed membership in a local minor party but acted in practice in the Senate as an affiliate of a major party, that major party has been listed in parentheses. Note: The Senate maintains a list of numbers of Senators holding each party affiliation in each Congress here.
- Am: American (Know-Nothing) Party (fl. 1850s)
- C: Conservative Party of New York; Constitutional Unionist (fl. 1860)
- D: Democrat-Republican to 1824; Democratic Party subsequently
- F: Federalist Party (1790s-1820s)
- FL: Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota (1920s-1940s)
- FS: Free Soil Party (1840s-1850s), a pre-Republican abolitionist party
- I: Independent
- ID: Independent Democrat, referring to Democrats running in opposition to the official party
- In: Independence Party of Minnesota (2000s)
- IR: Independent Republican, referring to Republicans running in opposition to the official party
- Lib: Liberty Party (fl. 1840s), a pre-Republican abolitionist party
- LO: Law and Order Party of Rhode Island (1840s)
- LR or L: Liberal Republican, an 1872 breakaway from the Republican Party
- NR: National Republican Party (1824-1836), a successor of the Democrat-Republican Party and forerunner to the Whigs
- Nul: Nullifier of South Carolina (1830s)
- Pop: Populist Party (fl. 1890s)
- Pr: Progressive Party, both the 1912 breakaway from the Republican Party and the Progressive Party of Wisconsin (fl. 1920s-1940s)
- R: Republican Party
- Re: Readjuster Party of Virginia (1880s)
- S: Silver Party of Nevada (1890s)
- SR: Silver Republicans, unorganized 1890s breakaway from the Republican Party
- Un: Unionist. This term is used by Martis to identify pro-Union persons in border states in the Civil War who did not take an unconditional position. Most subsequently joined the Democrats.
- UU: Unconditional Unionist. This term is used by Martis to identify extreme pro-Unionists in border states. Most subsequently joined the Republicans.
- W: Whig Party (1836-1850s, through 1865 in the C.S.A.)
- Date1: Beginning of service, in numerical form, usually taken from official sources. This is, whenever available, the date of presumed eligibility for office, rather than the date of swearing in: for a regularly elected senator the date of the beginning of the term, whether the Senate sat on that date or not, unless the senator was ineligible due to age or choosing to delay taking office a few days while waiting for incumbency in another office (usually Governor) to expire. If a senator is appointed to fill a vacancy, the date of eligibility is that of appointment, unless appointment was made before the incumbent's resignation took effect. If a senator is elected to fill a vacancy, Senate practice of counting seniority has varied between using the date of election and using the date of presentation of credentials, and consequently both dates are used in different cases, following official sources. When for recent years I do not yet have official verification that regularly-elected senators took office on January 3rd, the year only is used.
- Date2: Ending of service. Date of expiration of term (year only for some recent dates if full service has not yet been verified), expiration of appointment, death, resignation (or effective date of resignation if postdated), expulsion, declaration that credentials are invalid, or of withdrawal of senators from seceding states in 1860-61 (not of formal expulsion from the Senate in this case). In accordance with convention, term ending dates are given as March 3 (prior to 1935) and January 2 (1935 to date). Blank for senators holding office at the date of last update.
- Date1 Comments: Chronological file only. "App" means the senator was appointed by the state's Governor to fill a vacancy; all other senators were elected by the state legislature (up to 1913) or the electorate (after passage of the 17th Amendment). "App/el" means the senator was both appointed and elected to the seat: this may either be a subsequent election or a case of a newly-elected senator who took office early by arrangement. "Took seat" gives the date a senator was sworn in if it is after the date of beginning of service, due to travel after appointment/election, or the Senate not being in session at that time, or delay while credentials are examined, or some other reason. In some cases, especially 20th century, the Senate was not in session at the time a senator's service began, but sources do not comment on a later swearing in; in such cases I have sometimes made a note. "Did not qualify" or "Never seated" or other notes to that effect mean a senator left office for some reason before being sworn in; notes in the Date2 Comments field usually clarify whether this is because the senator's credentials were rejected or simply because the Senate was never in session during a senator's brief period in office. "Senior!" or "Junior!" is a note indicating that, according to the print Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, the senator was considered the senior or junior senator of the state in violation of the principle that, if both senators take office on the same day, the one whose term expires first is the senior senator. "1st/2nd CSA Congress" are used for Confederate senators taking seats at the beginning of those Congresses. If the field is blank, the senator took office at the start of a term in the normal way.
- Date2 Comments: Chronological file only. Blank for senators who left office at the end of a regular term or who are still holding office. "App expired" means that a gubernatorial appointee was replaced by an elected senator at this date. "Not entitled to seat" means the Senate or a relevant committee rejected the senator's credentials. Many senators from seceding states in 1860-61 who withdrew were subsequently formally expelled; the date of expulsion is given here. For senators who resigned to accept appointment or election to another post, because of scandal or criminal conviction, or to allow their successors to take office early, the reason is given. Other resignations, especially in the early years, were for reasons of political principle or ill health. "Fall of CSA" refers to Confederate senators still holding office at that date.
- Born and Died: Alphabetical file only. Years; question marks are used for uncertainty.
- C: Class. Seats file only. When the Senate first met in 1789, its members were divided by lot into those whose terms expired in 1791, 1793, and 1795, in accordance with Article 1 Section 3 of the Constitution. These six-year terms have continued in succession, and new Senate seats have been added to each class, which are usually designated as 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Class 1 seats were last elected in 2006, Class 2 seats in 2008, and Class 3 seats in 2004. Dashes indicate senators who held both seats from a state in succession with no break in service. The Confederate Senate, which first met in 1862, was also divided by lot into numbered classes. As they did not correspond to U.S. Senate classes, to avoid confusion they are here designated as A (expired 1864 and 1870), B (expired 1866), and C (expired 1868).
- County: Seats file only. Legal county or parish of residence (modern counties, not necessarily the ones existing at the time) of senators at the time they began their term of office. This is usually but not always the county with which the senator is most closely associated. Former governors and statewide officials, for instance, often maintain their legal residence at the state capital, even if that is not where they are more informally "from." For Alaska, cities are used. For Virginia, "geographical counties" are used instead of independent cities; for other states, independent cities are used.
Bibliography and useful links
Alexander, Thomas B., and Beringer, Richard E. The Anatomy of the Confederate Congress. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1972.
Barone, Michael, et al. The Almanac of American Politics. Washington: National Journal [etc.], 1972-. Current edition also at http://nationaljournal.com/almanac/ (subscription only).
Biography and Genealogy Master Index. Detroit: Gale Group, at http://galenet.gale.com/a/acp/db/bgmi/name-search.html (subscription only).
Byrd, Robert C. The Senate 1789-1989. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1988-1994.
Carr, Adam. Senate Elections 1998- and Senate Election Summaries 1914-96. [St Kilda, Victoria: A. Carr], at http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/u/usa/cong.shtml.
Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections. 3rd ed. Washington: Congressional Quarterly, 1994.
CQ Weekly Report. Washington: Congressional Quarterly, 1956-
Kestenbaum, Lawrence. The Political Graveyard. Ypsilanti, Mich.: P. Haas, 1996-, at http://politicalgraveyard.com/.
Martis, Kenneth C. The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan, 1989.
Rudin, Ken. Political Junkie. Washington: NPR, 2004-, at http://www.npr.org/blogs/politicaljunkie/, archives 2004-08 at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1930201. Washington: Washington Post, 1998-2001, archives at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/junkie/archive.htm.
United States Congress. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Alexandria: CQ Staff Directories, 1996. Also at http://bioguide.congress.gov/biosearch/biosearch.asp.
United States Senate. Learning About the Senate. Washington: U.S. Senate, at http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/Senate_Historical_Office.htm.
United States Senate. Senate Manual. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., various dates. Also at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/smanual/index.html. Direct access to table of "Senators of the United States" at http://frwebgate4.access.gpo.gov
Warner, Ezra J., and Yearns, W. Buck. Biographical Register of the Confederate Congress. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1975.
Various additional sources were also used for name and county data.
Bonus: A table and discussion of the fictional Senate in Allen Drury's novel Advise and Consent.
Return to David Bratman's home page for contact information.