Kansans in U.S. Congress
The territory of Kansas was created in May 1854 amidst much conflict over the issue of slavery in western lands controlled by the United States government. A territorial governor was appointed and the territory's first election was held in late November—voters chose a lone, non-voting delegate to the U.S. Congress.
State Members of Congress, 1861-present
Kansas entered the Union as the 34th state on January 29, 1861, and thereafter its lone representative in the U.S. House of Representatives could cast a vote. But the infant state had only that one representative, elected at large, until 1872 when, due to a substantial increase in its population, Kansas was allotted three seats in the lower house. Two years later, the first congressional districts were drawn and went into effect with the election of November 1874. Congress reapportions its fixed membership every 10 years, and Kansas has enjoyed as many as eight of 435 total seats. The state's population growth has been relatively modest since the 1930s, however, and Kansas opened the 21st century with only four seats in the House of Representative, plus two in the U.S. Senate, of course. Since statehood, 109 different men and four women have represented Kansas in the lower house of the U.S. Congress. The average age for Kansans entering the House of Representatives is just under 49 years, with the youngest being 31 years old (Dudley Doolittle, D., Strong City, 1913-1919) and the oldest almost 74 (Howard S. Miller, D., Morrill, 1953-1955). Not surprisingly, most had some previous experience in public service at the state and local levels, and predictably, the vast majority has had a background in the law. Twelve individuals came to Congress from journalism or publishing, however, and another dozen could be said to have been primarily engaged in agriculture. Republicans have outdone Democrats by a margin of three to one in the number of seats captured: 76 Republicans, 26 Democrats, and 10 members of the People's Party have comprised the state's congressional delegations since 1861. With the exception of Kansas itself, which has been the place of birth for 39 of the 112 Members of Congress, Ohio has been the most prolific supplier of Kansas congressmen with 15, followed closely by Illinois (14) and Pennsylvania (eight).
Entry: Kansans in U.S. Congress
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: November 2005
Date Modified: May 2012
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.