Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

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Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Seal of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives.svg
Seal of the Speaker
Paul Ryan--113th Congress--.png
Incumbent
Paul Ryan

since October 29, 2015
Style Mister or Madam Speaker
(Informal and within the House)
The Honorable
(Formal)
Appointer Elected by the U.S. House of Representatives
Inaugural holder Frederick Muhlenberg
April 1, 1789
Formation U.S. Constitution
March 4, 1789
Succession Second
Website Speaker of the House

The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives is the leader of the United States House of Representatives in the government of the United States. He is elected by the current members of the House and the person with the most votes becomes Speaker. The current Speaker of the House is Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, a Republican.

Duties[change | change source]

The Speaker has always been a member of the majority party (the party with the most members)but does not have to be an elected member of the House (this has not happened yet). The job of the Speaker is to keep the House in order and to assign committee memberships and chairmanships. It is an important and powerful position in government.

Background[change | change source]

Sam Rayburn is the only person to have served as Speaker of the House for more than ten years.

Theodore M. Pomeroy served as Speaker of the House for one day after Speaker Schuyler Colfax resigned to become Vice President of the United States; Pomeroy's term as a Member of Congress ended the next day.

Sam Rayburn, Henry Clay, Thomas Brackett Reed, Joseph William Martin, Jr., Frederick Muhlenberg, and John W. Taylor are the only Speakers of the House to have ever served in non-consecutive Congresses (i.e. another Speaker served in between each tenure).

Order of succession[change | change source]

The Speaker of the House is second in line for the Presidency of the United States. If the President of the United States dies or steps down, the Vice President of the United States becomes President. If there is no vice president, the Speaker of the House automatically becomes acting president. This has never happened.

List of Speakers of the United States House of Representatives[change | change source]

It includes the congressional district and political affiliation of each speaker as well as the number of their Congress and time they spent in the position.

# Speaker Party District Congress Tenure
1 Muhlenberg.jpg Frederick Muhlenberg Pro-Administration Pennsylvania-AL 1st April 1, 1789 —
March 4, 1791
2 JonathanTrumbull.jpg Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. Pro-Administration Connecticut-4th 2nd October 24, 1791 —
March 4, 1793
3 Muhlenberg.jpg Frederick Muhlenberg Anti-Administration Pennsylvania-AL 3rd December 2, 1793 —
March 4, 1795
4 JDayton.jpg Jonathan Dayton Federalist New Jersey-AL 4th December 7, 1795 —
March 4, 1797
5th May 15, 1797 —
March 4, 1799
5 TheodoreSedgwick.jpg Theodore Sedgwick Federalist Massachusetts-1 6th December 2, 1799 —
March 4, 1801
6 NC-Congress-NathanielMacon.jpg Nathaniel Macon Democratic-Republican North Carolina-5 7th December 7, 1801 —
March 4, 1803
North Carolina-6 8th October 17, 1803 —
March 4, 1805
9th December 2, 1805 —
March 4, 1807
7 JosephBradleyVarnum.jpg Joseph Bradley Varnum Democratic-Republican Massachusetts-4 10th October 26, 1807 —
March 4, 1809
11th May 22, 1809 —
March 4, 1811
8 Henry Clay.JPG Henry Clay Democratic-Republican Kentucky-3 12th November 4, 1811 —
March 4, 1813
Kentucky-2 13th May 24, 1813 —
January 19, 1814
9 LangdonCheves.jpg Langdon Cheves Democratic-Republican South Carolina-1 January 19, 1814 —
March 4, 1815
10 Henry Clay.JPG Henry Clay Democratic-Republican Kentucky-2 14th December 4, 1815 —
March 4, 1817
15th December 1, 1817 —
March 4, 1819
16th December 6, 1819 —
October 28, 1820
11 JohnWTaylor.jpg John W. Taylor Democratic-Republican New York-11 November 15, 1820 —
March 4, 1821
12 PPBarbour.jpg Philip Pendleton Barbour Democratic-Republican Virginia-11 17th December 4, 1821 —
March 4, 1823
13 Henry Clay.JPG Henry Clay Democratic-Republican Kentucky-3 18th December 1, 1823 —
March 4, 1825
14 JohnWTaylor.jpg John W. Taylor National Republican New York-17 19th December 5, 1825 —
March 4, 1827
15 AndrewStevenson.jpg Andrew Stevenson Democratic Virginia-9 20th December 3, 1827 —
March 4, 1829
21st December 7, 1829 —
March 4, 1831
22nd December 5, 1831 —
March 4, 1833
Virginia-11 23rd December 2, 1833 —
June 2, 1834
16 JBell.jpg John Bell Whig Tennessee-7 23rd June 2, 1834 —
March 4, 1835
17 Polkpolk.jpg James Polk Democratic Tennessee-9 24th December 7, 1835 —
March 4, 1837
25th September 4, 1837 —
March 4, 1839
18 RbrtMTHntr.jpg Robert M. T. Hunter Whig Virginia-9 26th December 16, 1839 —
March 4, 1841
19 John White.jpg John White Whig Kentucky-9 27th May 31, 1841 —
March 4, 1843
20 JohnWinstonJones.jpg John Winston Jones Democratic Virginia-6 28th December 4, 1843 —
March 4, 1845
21 John Wesley Davis.jpg John Wesley Davis Democratic Indiana-6 29th December 1, 1845 —
March 4, 1847
22 RCWinthrop.jpg Robert Charles Winthrop Whig Massachusetts-1 30th December 6, 1847 —
March 4, 1849
23 Cobb, Howell2.jpg Howell Cobb Democratic Georgia-6 31st December 22, 1849 —
March 4, 1851
24 LinnBoyd.jpg Linn Boyd Democratic Kentucky-1 32nd December 1, 1851 —
March 4, 1853
33rd December 5, 1853 —
March 4, 1855
25 Nathaniel Prentice Banks.jpg Nathaniel Prentice Banks American/Republican* Massachusetts-7 34th February 2, 1856 —
March 4, 1857
26 James Lawrence Orr - Brady-Handy.jpg James Lawrence Orr Democratic South Carolina-5 35th December 7, 1857 —
March 4, 1859
27 WmPennington.jpg William Pennington Republican New Jersey-5 36th February 1, 1860 —
March 4, 1861
28 GalushaAaron.jpg Galusha A. Grow Republican Pennsylvania-14 37th July 4, 1861 —
March 4, 1863
29 Schuyler Colfax, photo portrait seated, c1855-1865.jpg Schuyler Colfax Republican Indiana-9 38th December 7, 1863 —
March 4, 1865
39th December 4, 1865 —
March 4, 1867
40th March 4, 1867 —
March 3, 1869
30 Theodore Medad Pomeroy - Brady-Handy.jpg Theodore Medad Pomeroy Republican New York-24 March 3, 1869 —
March 4, 1869
31 James G. Blaine - Brady-Handy.jpg James G. Blaine Republican Maine-3 41st March 4, 1869 —
March 4, 1871
42nd March 4, 1871 —
March 4, 1873
43rd March 4, 1873 —
May 13, 1874
31.1 [1] [2] Joseph Rainey - Brady-Handy.jpg Joseph H. Rainey Republican South Carolina-1 May 13, 1874
31 James G. Blaine - Brady-Handy.jpg James G. Blaine Republican Maine-3 May 14, 1874 —
March 4, 1875
32 Michael C. Kerr - Brady-Handy.jpg Michael C. Kerr Democratic Indiana-3 44th December 6, 1875 —
August 19, 1876
33 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
34 J. Warren Keifer - Brady-Handy.jpg J. Warren Keifer Republican Ohio-8 47th December 5, 1881 —
March 4, 1883
35 John Griffin Carlisle, Brady-Handy photo portrait, ca1870-1880.jpg John Griffin Carlisle Democratic Kentucky-6 48th December 3, 1883 —
March 4, 1885
49th December 7, 1885 —
March 4, 1887
50th December 5, 1887 —
March 4, 1889
36 TBReed.jpg Thomas Brackett Reed Republican Maine-1 51st December 2, 1889 —
March 4, 1891
37 CharlesFrederickCrisp.jpg Charles Frederick Crisp Democratic Georgia-3 52nd December 8, 1891 —
March 4, 1893
53rd August 7, 1893 —
March 4, 1895
38 TBReed.jpg Thomas Brackett Reed Republican Maine-1 54th December 2, 1895 —
March 4, 1897
55th March 15, 1897 —
March 4, 1899
39 DavidBremmerHenderson.jpg David B. Henderson Republican Iowa-3 56th December 4, 1899 —
March 4, 1901
57th December 2, 1901 —
March 4, 1903
40 JGCannon.jpg Joseph Gurney Cannon Republican Illinois-18 58th 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
41 ChampClark.jpg Champ Clark Democratic Missouri-9 62nd 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
42 Frederick Gillett.jpg Frederick Gillett Republican Massachusetts-2 66th May 19, 1919 —
March 4, 1921
67th April 11, 1921 —
March 4, 1923
68th December 3, 1923 —
March 4, 1925
43 Nick Longworth Portrait.JPG Nicholas Longworth Republican Ohio-1 69th December 7, 1925 —
March 4, 1927
70th December 5, 1927 —
March 4, 1929
71st April 15, 1929 —
March 4, 1931
44 John n garner.jpg John Nance Garner Democratic Texas-15 72nd December 7, 1931 —
March 4, 1933
45 Henry T. Rainey.jpg Henry T. Rainey Democratic Illinois-20 73rd March 9, 1933 —
August 19, 1934
46 Joseph Byrns.jpg Joseph Wellington Byrns Democratic Tennessee-5 74th January 3, 1935 —
June 4, 1936
47 William B. Bankhead.jpg 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
48 Rayburn-Sam-LOC.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
49 SPEAKER JWMartin.jpg Joseph W. Martin, Jr. Republican Massachusetts-14 80th January 3, 1947 —
January 3, 1949
50 Rayburn-Sam-LOC.jpg Sam Rayburn Democratic Texas-4 81st January 3, 1949 —
January 3, 1951
82nd January 3, 1951 —
January 3, 1953
51 SPEAKER JWMartin.jpg Joseph W. Martin, Jr. Republican Massachusetts-14 83rd January 3, 1953 —
January 3, 1955
52 Rayburn-Sam-LOC.jpg Sam Rayburn Democratic Texas-4 84th 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
53 Speaker John McCormack.jpg John W. McCormack Democratic Massachusetts-12 January 10, 1962 —
January 3, 1963
Massachusetts-9 88th 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
54 Speaker Albert - portrait.jpg Carl Albert Democratic Oklahoma-3 92nd January 21, 1971 —
January 3, 1973
93rd January 3, 1973 —
January 3, 1975
94th January 14, 1975 —
January 3, 1977
55 SpeakerO'Neill.jpg Tip O'Neill Democratic Massachusetts-8 95th 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
56 SpeakerWright.jpg Jim Wright Democratic Texas-12 100th January 6, 1987 —
January 3, 1989
101st January 3, 1989 —
June 6, 1989
57 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
58 SpeakerGingrich.jpg Newt Gingrich Republican Georgia-6 104th January 4, 1995 —
January 3, 1997
105th January 7, 1997 —
January 3, 1999
59 SpeakerHastert.jpg Dennis Hastert Republican Illinois-14 106th 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
60 Speaker Nancy Pelosi.jpg Nancy Pelosi Democratic California-8 110th January 4, 2007 —
January 3, 2009
111th January 6, 2009 —
January 3, 2011
61 John Boehner official portrait.jpg John Boehner Republican Ohio-8 112th January 5, 2011 —
January 3, 2013
113th January 3, 2013 –
January 3, 2015
114th January 6, 2015 –
October 29, 2015
62 Paul Ryan official portrait.jpg Paul Ryan Republican Wisconsin-1 114th October 29, 2015 –
Present

List of living former Speakers[change | change source]

Since the retirement of John Boehner on October 29, 2015 there are four former living speakers.

Speaker Years in office Up-arrow Date of birth (and age)
Newt Gingrich 1995–1999 June 17, 1943 (1943-06-17) (age 72)
Dennis Hastert 1999–2007 January 2, 1942 (1942-01-02) (age 74)
Nancy Pelosi 2007–2011 March 26, 1940 (1940-03-26) (age 75)
John Boehner 2011–2015 November 17, 1949 (1949-11-17) (age 66)

References[change | change source]

  1. 11.Congressional Globe, House, 42nd Cong., 2nd sess. (13 May 1872): 3383.
  2. 12.The date Joseph Rainey was Speaker pro tempore is not known. Most sources claim Representative Rainey presided over the House during an Indian appropriations debate in May 1874. See, for example, an early secondary work, Samuel Denny Smith, The Negro in Congress: 1870–1901 (Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, Inc., 1940): 47–48. Most subsequent sources cite Smith. Yet the New York Herald published an article reporting that Rainey served as Speaker pro tempore on April 29; see “A Liberated Slave in the Speaker’s Chair,” 30 April 1874, New York Herald: 9. Similar accounts exist in the Baltimore Sun, the Charleston News and Courier, and the African-American newspaper The New National Era, though these reports cite April 29 and April 30. There is no mention of Rainey’s presiding in the Congressional Record or the House Journal for either date: Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (29–30 April 1874): 3457–3476, 3490–3507; House Journal, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (29–30 April 1874): 877–885.