“Mapping Congress”

There is a very kewl interactive map available  on United States House of Representatives: History, Art, & Archives website. You can find the map here: http://history.house.gov/Map/Mapping-Congress/.

Choose the range of Congresses you want to see how each state was represented. It goes from the 1st through the 114th Congess. Select the data that you are interested in seeing:

  • Women in Congress
  • Black Americans in Congress
  • Hispanic Americans in Congress
  • and more

You will see a state total for the topic of interest you’ve chosen for each state.  You can more the Range of Congresses up or down using the sliding bar at the top of the map. Using it, I found that the 66th Congress had the first woman, Montana’s Jeanette Rankin. Senator Rankin was elected even though she could not vote for herself because women did not have the vote at that time. Clicking on that number link on the map not only gave me that information, it lead me to another page “Women in Congress” where there is a wealth of information about the role women have played in our government. Simply more the sliding bar to see how that number has increased over time.

Three Black Americans entered the political scene of the 41st Congress: Mississippi’s Hiram Rhodes Revels, Georgia’s Jefferson Franklin Long, and  South Carolina’ Joseph Hayne Rainey. While the numbers grew, they were consistently in the “South” until the 71st Congress when Illinois elected Oscar Stanton DePriest. It was not until the 83rd Congress that New York became the second state in the “North” to elect a Black American, Adam Cayton Powell, Jr.

Florida led the way with the first Hispanic American in Congress, Joseph Marion Hernandez. He remained the only Hispanic member until the 33rd Congress when New Mexico elected Jose Manuel Gallegos. By the time California became the third state to elect an Hispanic Congressman, Romualdo Pacheco, New Mexico had reached a total of 6 members and Florida remained at 1.

I could go on for a long time with this, and I probably will at my leisure:) Hopefully, you take some time to look at this and do a bit of thinking about patterns that have evolved. While women have earned Congressional seats across the nation, there are still a lot of areas when no Black or Hispanic Americans have ever been elected. Have fun learning about how Congress has changed over time!


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