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Map of Missouri, 1812

June 4

Congress established the Territory of Missouri and granted its residents the right to vote for a legislature.


Missouri Compromise

March 6

The Senate debated the slavery question in new territories and future states and finally agreed to the Missouri Compromise, which admitted Maine as a free state and allowed the Territory of Missouri to draft a constitution and form a state government without restrictions on slavery. The compromise set a geographic line by which the status of slavery would be determined for future states: states to the south of the 36º30’ could permit slavery, while in states to the north of that line, slavery would be prohibited.


Missouri statehood proclamation

August 10

Missouri became the 24th state in the Union.


David Barton (DR/ACR/A/AJ-MO)

December 3

David Barton of St. Louis took his oath of office as one of Missouri's first two United States senators. Three days later, on December 6, Thomas Hart Benton of St. Louis presented his credentials and was sworn into office. The two senators then drew lots to determine their class assignments. Barton drew Class 2, with a term to expire on March 3, 1825. Benton drew Class 3, with a term to expire March 3, 1827.


Thomas Hart Benton

December 9

Thomas Hart Benton became chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, serving until 1828. He then became chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs (today's Committee on Armed Services), a position he held until 1841 and again from 1845 to 1849.


Lewis F. Linn (J/D-MO)

June 2

Lewis F. Linn of Saint Genevieve became chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture (today's Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry), serving until 1843.


PPT Seal

August 8

David Rice Atchison of Gower was elected president pro tempore of the Senate. Over the next eight years, Senator Atchison would serve in that leadership position 13 different times.


David Rice Atchison (D-MO)

December 13

David Rice Atchison became chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs serving until 1853.


David Rice Atchison

March 4

Senator David Rice Atchison maintained a dubious claim to have assumed the office of president of the United States one day. As the Senate's president pro tempore, he was then second in line of presidential succession behind the vice president. The terms of President James K. Polk and Vice President George M. Dallas expired at noon on March 4, a Sunday, and President-elect Zachary Taylor was not inaugurated until Monday, March 5. Atchison boasted for the rest of his life that he technically became president during that short interim, despite the expiration of his own senate term on March 4.


March 7

Senator Thomas Hart Benton briefly became chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, serving during the special session until March 23, 1849.


Cartoon depicting altercation between Benton and Foote

April 17

During heated debate on the Senate floor, Mississippi senator Henry Foote pulled a pistol on Senator Thomas Hart Benton as the physically imposing Benton moved toward him down the center aisle. Foote claimed self-defense, while Hart accused Foote of being an assassin. As tempers cooled, a committee was immediately appointed to look into the disorder and the matter quietly went away.


Thomas Hart Benton (DR/J/D-MO)

June 10

Senator Thomas Hart Benton took to the Senate floor to give a classic speech in opposition to the Compromise of 1850, which dealt primarily with the issues of slavery and western expansion. Not particularly known as an orator, Benton was nevertheless a major figure in the Senate where he had served for nearly 30 years.


Thomas H. Benton

March 3

Thomas Hart Benton completed his service in the Senate after a record 29 years, 6 months, and 22 days. Senator Benton's service record would stand for over 40 years until it was surpassed by Ohio's John Sherman in 1894. By 2009, Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia had pushed the record for longest serving senator over the 50-year mark. Benton remains Missouri's second longest-serving senator behind Francis Cockrell of Warrensburg.


Waldo P. Johnson (D-MO)

January 10

Both Missouri senators, Waldo P. Johnson of Osceola and Trusten Polk of St. Louis, were expelled from the Senate for disloyalty to the Union.


John B. Henderson (UU/R-MO)

December 5

Senator John B. Henderson of Lincoln County became chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs serving until 1853.


Campaign poster for Francis P. Blair and Horatio Seymour

November 3

Future senator Francis P. Blair of St. Louis was the unsuccessful Democratic vice presidential candidate in the 1868 election. Blair was the running mate of former New York governor Horatio Seymour. They lost the election to the Republican ticket of Ulysses S. Grant and Schuyler Colfax.


Charles D. Drake (R-MO)

March 8

Charles D. Drake of St. Louis became chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, (today's Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions), serving until 1870.


George Vest (D-MO)

September 23

Future senator George Vest of Kansas City, then a lawyer in rural Missouri, gained immortality with a speech delivered to a jury in Warrensburg. Prosecuting the case of a farmer whose dog had been killed by a neighbor, Vest eulogized the dog as "man's best friend." "When all other friends depart, he remains. When riches take wings and reputations fall to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens." Vest was elected to the Senate nine years later and served there for 24 years (1879-1903).


Campaign poster for Benjamin Brown and Horace Greeley

November 5

Former senator Benjamin Gratz Brown of St. Louis was the unsuccessful Democratic vice presidential candidate in the 1872 election. Brown was the running mate of newspaperman Horace Greeley. They lost the election to the Republican ticket of the incumbent Ulysses S. Grant and Massachusetts senator Henry Wilson.


Lewis V. Bogy (D-MO)

March 25

The Senate resolved the disputed election case of Lewis V. Bogy of St. Louis. Thirteen days after Senator Bogy had initially taken his seat the Senate began an investigation into allegations that Bogy had won his seat through bribery and corruption. The Senate's Committee on Privileges and Elections quickly determined there was a lack of evidence and concluded the matter. Bogy continued to serve in the Senate until his death in 1877.


Carl Schurz (R-MO)

March 10

By a vote of 55 to 1, the Senate confirmed the nomination of former senator Carl Schurz as secretary of the interior under President Rutherford B. Hayes. Schurz served as interior secretary until 1881.


James Shields (D-IL/MN/MO)

January 22

James Shields of Carrollton won election to Missouri's Class 3 Senate seat. Shields had previously represented both Illinois and Minnesota in the Senate. He is the only Senator to ever have served three different states.


Francis M. Cockrell (D-MO)

March 15

Francis M. Cockrell became chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, serving until 1895.


Statue of Francis P. Blair, National Statuary Hall Collection

May 19

A marble statue of former senator Francis P. Blair and a marble statue of former senator Thomas Hart Benton, both by sculptor Alexander Doyle, were accepted by the Senate as Missouri's contributions to the National Statuary Hall Collection. Blair, a former congressman, Civil War general, and vice presidential candidate, served in the Senate from 1871 to 1873. Benton was one of Missouri's two first senators and served in the Senate for nearly 30 years.


Francis M. Cockrell

March 3

Francis M. Cockrell ended his Senate service as Missouri's longest-serving senator. Cockrell served for exactly 30 years, about six months longer than his fellow Missourian Thomas Hart Benton.


William J. Stone (D-MO)

March 15

William J. Stone of Jefferson City became chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, serving until 1914, when he became chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He led that committee unitl 1918.


Seventeenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

November 3

Incumbent senator William J. Stone became Missouri's first directly elected senator following the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913.


Selden P. Spencer (R-MO)

December 13

Selden P. Spencer of St. Louis became chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs serving until 1923.


James Reed (D-MO)

February 22

Senator James Reed of Kansas City read George Washington's Farewell Address on the floor of the Senate, a tradition dating to 1862.


Image: Truman Committee

March 1

Senator Harry S. Truman, who had entered the Senate in 1935, was appointed chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, which was created to uncover defense-related waste and corruption during the mobilization prior to World War II. The committee became popularly known as the "Truman Committee" and helped propel Senator Truman to national prominence, the office of vice president, and ultimately, the presidency itself.


Harry S. Truman (D-MO)

July 21

Senator Harry S. Truman became the Democratic vice presidential nominee for the 1944 election. Truman was the running mate of incumbent president Franklin D. Roosevelt. They won the general election on November 7, defeating the Republican ticket of New York governor Thomas E. Dewey and future Ohio senator John W. Bricker.


Harry S. Truman

April 12

Vice President Harry S. Truman became the 12th senator to become President of the United States following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


Harry S. Truman


A marble bust of Vice President Harry S. Truman by artist Charles Keck was added to the Senate Vice Presidential Bust Collection. Truman served as a senator from Missouri from 1935 to 1945 and vice president in 1945. The bust was commissioned in 1946 and was modeled for by Truman in the White House while he was president.


Thomas C. Hennings (D-MO)

January 2

Senator Thomas C. Hennings of St. Louis was elected the Democratic Conference secretary. He served in that leadership position until 1960.


January 9

Thomas C. Hennings became chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, serving until 1960.


Charles E. Whittaker

March 19

The Senate confirmed the nomination of Missourian Charles E. Whittaker as an associate justice of the Supreme Court.


Senate Reception Room overview

April 25

Among former senator and president Harry S. Truman's recommendations to the Senate's Special Committee on the Senate Reception Room, which was seeking to identify five outstanding former senators whose portraits would be permanently displayed in that room, were Missouri senators Thomas Hart Benton and George Vest. An outside advisory committee of scholars and public figures ranked Benton in seventh place. Although he wasn't included among the "famous five," the Senate committee recommended that Benton be considered for future honors.


Image:Senator Harry Truman in his Senate Office Building suite.

May 8

Former senator and president Harry S. Truman returned to the Senate and was honored on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The Senate had recently modified its rules to allow former presidents to address the body, a rule change once advocated by Truman during his time in the Senate. Twenty-five senators rose in turn to celebrate his career and birthday. When it was his time to respond, Truman was choked with emotion. Referring to the Senate’s newly extended privilege, he said, “I’m so overcome that I can’t take advantage of this rule right now.”


Thomas F. Eagleton (D-MO)

July 13

Senator Thomas F. Eagleton of St. Louis became the Democratic vice presidential nominee for the 1972 election. A month later, however, presidential nominee and South Dakota senator George McGovern replaced Eagleton on the ticket with Sargent Shriver due to health concerns.


John C. Danforth (R-MO)

February 21

John C. Danforth of St. Louis became chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, serving until 1987.


Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO)

January 17

Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond of St. Louis became chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, serving until 2001.


John D. Ashcroft (R-MO)

December 7

Senator John D. Ashcroft of Springfield received the Golden Gavel Award for presiding over the Senate for 100 hours in a single session.


Jean Carnahan (D-MO)

January 3

Jean Carnahan was appointed to the Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of her husband, Governor Mel Carnahan, who was posthumously elected a month after he was killed in a plane crash while campaigning. Senator Carnahan, Missouri's first woman senator, served until November 25, 2002, when an elected successor, James M. Talent of St. Louis, took office for the remainder of the term.


February 1

By a vote of 58 to 42, the Senate confirmed the nomination of former senator John D. Ashcroft as attorney general of the United States under President George W. Bush. Ashcroft served as attorney general until 2005.


Golden Gavel


Senator Jean Carnahan received the Golden Gavel Award for presiding over the Senate for 100 hours in a single session.


Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

October 23

Senator Claire McCaskill of Rolla, the second woman to represent Missouri in the Senate, received her first Golden Gavel Award for presiding over the Senate for 100 hours in a single session. She received a second Golden Gavel on September 26, 2008.


Roy Blunt (R-MO)

January 26

Senator Roy Blunt of Strafford, who entered the Senate in 2011 after serving 14 years in the House of Representatives, became Republican Conference vice-chair (formerly the conference secretary).


January 8

Roy Blunt became chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.