Leadership in The Senate

capitol with cherry blossoms in frontSince its inception in 1787, the Senate has evolved into the powerhouse it is today. Leadership of Senate politicians, on a personal level, is based upon the purpose to protect the rights of his or her represented state. That much remains the same. It’s how they go about it that has changed.

Leadership in Senate power, as related to majority and minority parties, has also remained the same. While the names of the parties have changed throughout the years to what we know today as Democratic and Republican, the concept behind leadership in Senate parties has never changed.

What’s In A Name: A Look At The History of Leadership In The Senate

Let’s take a look back, starting with the 1st Congress, at the parties of leadership in the Senate bringing us to the Republican and Democratic parties of today.1

  • 1st through 4th Congress (1789-1795)
    • Pro-Administration
    • Anti-Administration
  • 4th through 18th Congress (1795-1823)
    • Republican
    • Federalist
  • 18th Congress (1823-1825)
    • Jackson & Crawford Republicans
    • Adams-Clay Republicans & Federalists
  • 19th through 20th Congress (1825-1829)
    • Jacksonian
    • Adams
  • 21st through 24th Congress (1829-1837)
    • Jacksonian
    • Anti-Jackson
  • 25th through 33rd Congress (1837-1855)
    • Democratic
    • Whig
  • 34th Congress (1855-1857)
    • Democratic
    • Opposition
  • 35th Congress (1857-present)
    • Democratic
    • Republican

Leadership of Senate parties

As you can see, especially considering we are looking at two centuries of power, leadership of Senate parties hasn’t changed that much. Our current major parties, Democratic and Republican, have been active in the Senate since 1857. It’s interesting to see how literal the naming process was in early government, isn’t it? Though not listed, there were also independent parties in Congress throughout the years. Some of these parties were National Republican, Free Soiler, and the American Party.

1Data extracted from the United States Senate website: www.senate.gov.

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