List of Speakers of the United States House of Representatives

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The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives. The office was established in 1789 by Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. The speaker is the political and parliamentary leader of the House, and is simultaneously the body's presiding officer, the de facto leader of the body's majority party, and the institution's administrative head.[1] Speakers also perform various administrative and procedural functions, all in addition to representing their own congressional district. Given these several roles and responsibilities, the Speaker usually does not personally preside over debates. That duty is instead delegated to members of the House from the majority party. Neither does the Speaker regularly participate in floor debates. Additionally, the speaker is second in the presidential line of succession, after the vice president and ahead of the president pro tempore of the Senate.[2]

The House elects a new speaker by roll call vote when it first convenes after a general election for its two-year term, or when a speaker dies, resigns or is removed from the position intra-term. A majority of votes cast (as opposed to a majority of the full membership of the House) is necessary to elect a speaker[1] If no candidate receives a majority vote, then the roll call is repeated until a speaker is elected.[3] The Constitution does not require the Speaker to be an incumbent member of the House, although every Speaker thus far has been.[4]

The current Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California, was elected to the office on January 3, 2019, the first day of the 116th Congress. Pelosi, who previously led the House from January 4, 2007 to January 3, 2011, is the only female to have served as speaker, and also the highest-ranking elected woman in American political history.[5] Altogether, 54 individuals, from 23 of the 50 states, have served as Speaker of the House. The number from each state are:

One speaker, James K. Polk, subsequently served as President of the United States, and two, Schuyler Colfax and John Nance Garner, later became vice president. The longest serving speaker was Sam Rayburn – 17 years, 53 days. Elected 10 times, he led the House: September 1940 to January 1947; January 1949 to January 1953; and January 1955 to November 1961. Tip O'Neill had the longest uninterrupted tenure as speaker – 9 years, 350 days. Elected five times, he led the House from January 1977 to January 1987. Theodore M. Pomeroy had the shortest tenure; elected speaker on March 3, 1869, he served one day.

List of Speakers[edit]

The House has elected a new Speaker 126 times since 1789.[3] Of the 54 people who have served as Speaker of the House over the past 230 years, 32 served multiple terms (of which seven served nonconsecutive terms: Frederick Muhlenberg, Henry Clay, John W. Taylor, Thomas Brackett Reed, Joseph W. Martin Jr., Sam Rayburn, and Nancy Pelosi).


Cong. Name Party District[a] Term of service
1st Frederick Muhlenberg.jpg Frederick Muhlenberg Pro-Administration Pennsylvania at-large April 1, 1789 –
March 4, 1791
2nd JonathanTrumbull.jpg Jonathan Trumbull Jr. Pro-Administration Connecticut at-large October 24, 1791 –
March 4, 1793
3rd Frederick Muhlenberg.jpg Frederick Muhlenberg Anti-Administration Pennsylvania at-large December 2, 1793[b]
March 4, 1795
4th JDayton.jpg Jonathan Dayton Federalist New Jersey at-large December 7, 1795 –
March 4, 1797
5th May 15, 1797 –
March 4, 1799
6th TheodoreSedgwick.jpg Theodore Sedgwick Federalist Massachusetts 1 December 2, 1799[b]
March 4, 1801
7th NC-Congress-NathanielMacon.jpg Nathaniel Macon Democratic-
Republican
North Carolina 5 December 7, 1801 –
March 4, 1803
8th North Carolina 6 October 17, 1803 –
March 4, 1805
9th December 2, 1805[b]
March 4, 1807
10th JosephBradleyVarnum.jpg Joseph Bradley Varnum Democratic-
Republican
Massachusetts 4 October 26, 1807 –
March 4, 1809
11th May 22, 1809[b]
March 4, 1811
12th Henry Clay.JPG Henry Clay Democratic-
Republican
Kentucky 5 November 4, 1811 –
March 4, 1813
13th Kentucky 2 May 24, 1813 –
January 19, 1814[c]
13th[d] LangdonCheves.jpg Langdon Cheves Democratic-
Republican
South Carolina 1 January 19, 1814 –
March 4, 1815
14th Henry Clay.JPG Henry Clay Democratic-
Republican
Kentucky 2 December 4, 1815 –
March 4, 1817
15th December 1, 1817 –
March 4, 1819
16th December 6, 1819 –
October 28, 1820[c]
16th[d] SpeakerTaylor.png John W. Taylor Democratic-
Republican
New York 11 November 15, 1820[b]
March 4, 1821
17th PPBarbour.jpg Philip Pendleton Barbour Democratic-
Republican
Virginia 11 December 4, 1821[b]
March 4, 1823
18th Henry Clay.JPG Henry Clay Democratic-
Republican
Kentucky 3 December 1, 1823 –
March 6, 1825[c]
19th SpeakerTaylor.png John W. Taylor Adams Republican New York 17 December 5, 1825[b]
March 4, 1827
20th SpeakerStevenson.png Andrew Stevenson Jacksonian Virginia 9 December 3, 1827 –
March 4, 1829
21st December 7, 1829 –
March 4, 1831
22nd December 5, 1831 –
March 4, 1833
23rd Virginia 11 December 2, 1833 –
June 2, 1834[c]
23rd[d] John Bell.jpg John Bell Jacksonian Tennessee 7 June 2, 1834[b]
March 4, 1835
24th James Knox Polk by GPA Healy, 1858.jpg James K. Polk Jacksonian Tennessee 9 December 7, 1835 –
March 4, 1837
25th Democratic September 4, 1837 –
March 4, 1839
26th RbrtMTHntr.jpg Robert M. T. Hunter Whig Virginia 9 December 16, 1839[b]
March 4, 1841
27th John White.jpg John White Whig Kentucky 9 May 31, 1841 –
March 4, 1843
28th JohnWinstonJones.jpg John Winston Jones Democratic Virginia 6 December 4, 1843 –
March 4, 1845
29th John Wesley Davis.jpg John Wesley Davis Democratic Indiana 6 December 1, 1845 –
March 4, 1847
30th RCWinthrop.jpg Robert Charles Winthrop Whig Massachusetts 1 December 6, 1847[b]
March 4, 1849
31st Cobb, Howell2.jpg Howell Cobb Democratic Georgia 6 December 22, 1849[b]
March 4, 1851
32nd LinnBoyd.jpg Linn Boyd Democratic Kentucky 1 December 1, 1851 –
March 4, 1853
33rd December 5, 1853 –
March 4, 1855
34th Nathaniel Prentice Banks.jpg Nathaniel P. Banks American Massachusetts 7 February 2, 1856[b]
March 4, 1857
35th James Lawrence Orr - Brady-Handy.jpg James Lawrence Orr Democratic South Carolina 5 December 7, 1857 –
March 4, 1859
36th William Pennington portrait.jpg William Pennington Republican New Jersey 5 February 1, 1860[b]
March 4, 1861
37th GalushaAaron.jpg Galusha A. Grow Republican Pennsylvania 14 July 4, 1861 –
March 4, 1863
38th Schuyler Colfax, photo portrait seated, c1855-1865.jpg Schuyler Colfax Republican Indiana 9 December 7, 1863 –
March 4, 1865
39th December 4, 1865 –
March 4, 1867
40th March 4, 1867 –
March 3, 1869[c]
40th[d] Theodore Medad Pomeroy - Brady-Handy.jpg Theodore M. Pomeroy Republican New York 24 March 3–4, 1869
41st James G. Blaine - Brady-Handy.jpg James G. Blaine Republican Maine 3 March 4, 1869 –
March 4, 1871
42nd March 4, 1871 –
March 4, 1873
43rd March 4, 1873 –
March 4, 1875
44th Michael C. Kerr - Brady-Handy.jpg Michael C. Kerr Democratic Indiana 3 December 6, 1875 –
August 19, 1876[e]
44th[d] Samuel J. Randall - Brady-Handy.jpg Samuel J. Randall Democratic Pennsylvania 3 December 4, 1876 –
March 4, 1877
45th October 15, 1877 –
March 4, 1879
46th March 18, 1879 –
March 4, 1881
47th J. Warren Keifer - Brady-Handy.jpg J. Warren Keifer Republican Ohio 8 December 5, 1881 –
March 4, 1883
48th John Griffin Carlisle, Brady-Handy photo portrait, ca1870-1880.jpg John G. Carlisle Democratic Kentucky 6 December 3, 1883 –
March 4, 1885
49th December 7, 1885 –
March 4, 1887
50th December 5, 1887 –
March 4, 1889
51st Thomas Brackett Reed by John Singer Sargent.jpg Thomas Brackett Reed Republican Maine 1 December 2, 1889 –
March 4, 1891
52nd CharlesFrederickCrisp.jpg Charles Frederick Crisp Democratic Georgia 3 December 8, 1891 –
March 4, 1893
53rd August 7, 1893 –
March 4, 1895
54th Thomas Brackett Reed by John Singer Sargent.jpg Thomas Brackett Reed Republican Maine 1 December 2, 1895 –
March 4, 1897
55th March 15, 1897 –
March 4, 1899
56th DavidBremmerHenderson.jpg David B. Henderson Republican Iowa 3 December 4, 1899 –
March 4, 1901
57th December 2, 1901 –
March 4, 1903
58th SpeakerCannon.png Joseph Gurney Cannon Republican Illinois 18 November 9, 1903 –
March 4, 1905
59th December 4, 1905 –
March 4, 1907
60th December 2, 1907 –
March 4, 1909
61st March 15, 1909 –
March 4, 1911
62nd James Beauchamp Clark.jpg Champ Clark Democratic Missouri 9 April 4, 1911 –
March 4, 1913
63rd April 7, 1913 –
March 4, 1915
64th December 6, 1915 –
March 4, 1917
65th April 2, 1917 –
March 4, 1919
66th Frederick Gillett.jpg Frederick H. Gillett Republican Massachusetts 2 May 19, 1919 –
March 4, 1921
67th April 11, 1921 –
March 4, 1923
68th December 5, 1923[b]
March 4, 1925
69th Nick Longworth Portrait.JPG Nicholas Longworth Republican Ohio 1 December 7, 1925 –
March 4, 1927
70th December 5, 1927 –
March 4, 1929
71st April 15, 1929 –
March 4, 1931
72nd John n garner.jpg John Nance Garner Democratic Texas 15 December 7, 1931 –
March 4, 1933
73rd SpeakerRainey.png Henry Thomas Rainey Democratic Illinois 20 March 9, 1933 –
August 19, 1934[e]
74th Joseph Byrns.jpg Joseph W. Byrns Sr. Democratic Tennessee 5 January 3, 1935 –
June 4, 1936[e]
74th[d] SpeakerBankhead.png William B. Bankhead Democratic Alabama 7 June 4, 1936
January 3, 1937
75th January 5, 1937 –
January 3, 1939
76th January 3, 1939 –
September 15, 1940[e]
76th[d] Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn.jpg Sam Rayburn Democratic Texas 4 September 16, 1940
January 3, 1941
77th January 3, 1941 –
January 3, 1943
78th January 6, 1943 –
January 3, 1945
79th January 3, 1945 –
January 3, 1947
80th SPEAKER JWMartin.jpg Joseph W. Martin Jr. Republican Massachusetts 14 January 3, 1947 –
January 3, 1949
81st Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn.jpg Sam Rayburn Democratic Texas 4 January 3, 1949
January 3, 1951
82nd January 3, 1951
January 3, 1953
83rd SPEAKER JWMartin.jpg Joseph W. Martin Jr. Republican Massachusetts 14 January 3, 1953
January 3, 1955
84th Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn.jpg Sam Rayburn Democratic Texas 4 January 3, 1955
January 3, 1957
85th January 3, 1957
January 3, 1959
86th January 7, 1959
January 3, 1961
87th January 3, 1961
November 16, 1961[e]
87th[d] Speaker John McCormack.jpg John W. McCormack Democratic Massachusetts 12 January 10, 1962
January 3, 1963
88th Massachusetts 9 January 9, 1963
January 3, 1965
89th January 4, 1965
January 3, 1967
90th January 10, 1967
January 3, 1969
91st January 3, 1969
January 3, 1971
92nd Speaker Albert - portrait.jpg Carl Albert Democratic Oklahoma 3 January 21, 1971
January 3, 1973
93rd January 3, 1973
January 3, 1975
94th January 14, 1975
January 3, 1977
95th SpeakerO'Neill.jpg Tip O'Neill Democratic Massachusetts 8 January 4, 1977
January 3, 1979
96th January 15, 1979
January 3, 1981
97th January 5, 1981
January 3, 1983
98th January 3, 1983
January 3, 1985
99th January 3, 1985
January 3, 1987
100th SpeakerWright.jpg Jim Wright Democratic Texas 12 January 6, 1987
January 3, 1989
101st January 3, 1989
June 6, 1989[c]
101st[d] SpeakerFoley.jpg Tom Foley Democratic Washington 5 June 6, 1989
January 3, 1991
102nd January 3, 1991
January 3, 1993
103rd January 5, 1993
January 3, 1995
104th SpeakerGingrich.jpg Newt Gingrich[f] Republican Georgia 6 January 4, 1995
January 3, 1997
105th January 7, 1997
January 3, 1999[c]
106th SpeakerHastert.jpg Dennis Hastert[f] Republican Illinois 14 January 6, 1999
January 3, 2001
107th January 3, 2001
January 3, 2003
108th January 7, 2003
January 3, 2005
109th January 3, 2005
January 3, 2007
110th Speaker Nancy Pelosi.jpg Nancy Pelosi[f] Democratic California 8 January 4, 2007
January 3, 2009
111th January 6, 2009
January 3, 2011
112th Speaker Boehner.tif John Boehner[f] Republican Ohio 8 January 5, 2011
January 3, 2013
113th January 3, 2013
January 3, 2015
114th January 6, 2015
October 29, 2015[c]
114th[d] Paul Ryan official photo.jpg Paul Ryan[f] Republican Wisconsin 1 October 29, 2015
January 3, 2017
115th January 3, 2017
January 3, 2019
116th Official photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2019.jpg Nancy Pelosi Democratic California 12 January 3, 2019
Incumbent
  Pro-Administration (2)[g] •   Anti-Administration (1)[g] •   Federalist (2) •   Democratic-Republican (6)[h] •
  Adams Republican (1)[h] •   Jacksonian (3)[i] •   Democratic (22)[i] •   Whig (3) •   American (1) •   Republican (16)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The district listed is the district the speaker represented at the time they were in office, which may be different in different Congresses due to redistricting.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Multi-ballot election.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Resigned from office and from Congress.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Intra-term special election.
  5. ^ a b c d e Died in office.
  6. ^ a b c d e As of May 2019 there are four living former speakers of the House: Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, and Paul Ryan. Current speaker Nancy Pelosi was also among this group prior to reassuming the office in January 2019.
  7. ^ a b Frederick Muhlenberg served as speaker twice in the 1790s, before political factions coalesced into formal parties; initially he identified with the pro–administration faction, but later he aligned himself with the anti–administration faction.
  8. ^ a b John Taylor served as speaker twice in the 1820s; initially he was as a member of the Democratic–Republican Party, and later, when the party began to fracture, he sided with its pro–Adams faction.
  9. ^ a b During James K. Polk's tenure as speaker the Jacksonian bloc amalgamated into the modern Democratic Party.

Speakers by time in office[edit]

The length of time given below is based on the difference between dates; if counted by number of calendar days all the figures would be one greater. Also, as many speakers were elected multiple times, and to terms that were, in several instances, not consecutive, the length of time given for each speaker measures their cumulative length of incumbency as speaker. Further, time after adjournment of one Congress but before the convening of the next Congress is not counted. For example, Nathaniel Macon was Speaker in both the 8th and 9th Congresses, but the eight-month gap between the two Congresses is not counted toward his service. The exact dates of service for each individual speaker is shown in the Term of service column of the above table.

Official seal of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Sam Rayburn, longest serving speaker of the House,
17 years, 53 days (cumulative)
Tip O'Neill, longest uninterrupted tenure of office,
9 years, 350 days
Theodore M. Pomeroy, shortest tenure of office, 1 day
Rank Name Time in office TE Year(s) in which elected
1 Sam Rayburn 17 years, 53 days 10 1940; 1941; 1943; 1945; 1949; 1951; 1955; 1957; 1959; 1961
2 Henry Clay 10 years, 196 days 6 1811; 1813; 1815; 1817; 1819; 1823
3 Tip O'Neill 9 years, 350 days 5 1977; 1979; 1981; 1983; 1985
4 John W. McCormack 8 years, 344 days 5 1962; 1963; 1965; 1967; 1969
5 Dennis Hastert 7 years, 359 days 4 1999; 2001; 2003; 2005
6 Champ Clark 6 years, 357 days 4 1911; 1913; 1915; 1917
7 Carl Albert 5 years, 337 days 3 1971; 1973; 1975
8 Joseph Gurney Cannon 5 years, 285 days 4 1903; 1905; 1907; 1909
9 Tom Foley 5 years, 209 days 3 1989; 1991; 1993
10 James G. Blaine 5 years, 93 days 3 1869; 1871; 1873
11 Frederick H. Gillett 4 years, 341 days 3 1919; 1921; 1923
12 John Boehner 4 years, 297 days 3 2011; 2013; 2015
13 Schuyler Colfax 4 years, 176 days 3 1863; 1865; 1867
14 Thomas Brackett Reed 4 years, 172 days 3 1889; 1895; 1897
15 Nancy Pelosi 4 years, 139 days 3 2007; 2009; 2019
16 Nicholas Longworth 4 years, 133 days 3 1925; 1927; 1929
17 William B. Bankhead 4 years, 102 days 3 1936; 1937; 1939
18 Andrew Stevenson 4 years, 83 days 4 1827; 1829; 1831; 1833
19 Joseph W. Martin Jr. 4 years 2 1947; 1953
20 Newt Gingrich 3 years, 361 days 2 1995; 1997
21 Nathaniel Macon 3 years, 317 days 3 1801; 1803; 1805
22 John G. Carlisle 3 years, 267 days 3 1883; 1885; 1887
23 Samuel J. Randall 3 years, 215 days 3 1876; 1877; 1879
24 Paul Ryan 3 years, 66 days 2 2015; 2017
25 Frederick Muhlenberg 3 years, 64 days 2 1789; 1793
26 Joseph Bradley Varnum 3 years, 49 days 2 1807; 1809
27 Jonathan Dayton 3 years, 14 days 2 1795; 1797
28 Charles Frederick Crisp 2 years, 295 days 2 1891; 1893
29 James K. Polk 2 years, 268 days 2 1835; 1837
30
(tie)
Linn Boyd 2 years, 182 days 2 1851; 1853
David B. Henderson 2 years, 182 days 2 1899; 1901
32 Jim Wright 2 years, 151 days 2 1987; 1989
33 John White 1 year, 277 days 1 1841
34 Galusha A. Grow 1 year, 243 days 1 1861
35 John W. Taylor 1 year, 198 days 2 1820; 1825
36 Henry Thomas Rainey 1 year, 163 days 1 1933
37 Joseph W. Byrns Sr. 1 year, 153 days 1 1935
38 Jonathan Trumbull Jr. 1 year, 131 days 1 1791
39 John Wesley Davis 1 year, 93 days 1 1845
40 Theodore Sedgwick 1 year, 92 days 1 1799
41
(tie)
Philip Pendleton Barbour 1 year, 90 days 1 1821
John Winston Jones 1 year, 90 days 1 1843
43 J. Warren Keifer 1 year, 89 days 1 1881
44 Robert Charles Winthrop 1 year, 88 days 1 1847
45
(tie)
James Lawrence Orr 1 year, 87 days 1 1857
John Nance Garner 1 year, 87 days 1 1931
47 Robert M. T. Hunter 1 year, 78 days 1 1839
48 Howell Cobb 1 year, 72 days 1 1849
49 Langdon Cheves 1 year, 44 days 1 1814
50 William Pennington 1 year, 31 days 1 1860
51 Nathaniel P. Banks 1 year, 30 days 1 1856
52 John Bell 275 days 1 1834
53 Michael C. Kerr 257 days 1 1875
54 Theodore M. Pomeroy 1 day 1 1869

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Forte, David F. "Essays on Article I: Speaker of the House". Heritage Guide to The Constitution. Heritage Foundation. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  2. ^ Relyea, Harold C. (August 5, 2005). "Continuity of Government: Current Federal Arrangements and the Future" (PDF). CRS Report for Congress. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress. pp. 2–4. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Speaker Elections Decided by Multiple Ballots". history.house.gov. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  4. ^ Heitshusen, Valerie; Beth, Richard S. (January 4, 2019). "Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913–2019" (PDF). RL30857. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  5. ^ Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (January 2, 2019). "Nancy Pelosi, Icon of Female Power, Will Reclaim Role as Speaker and Seal a Place in History". The New York Times. Retrieved January 3, 2019.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States House of Representatives document "List of Speakers of the House".

External links[edit]