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Henry B. Anthony: A Featured Biography


Photo of Senator Henry Anthony

In the 19th century the Senate had no majority or minority leaders. Floor leadership was instead exerted by the chairmen of the party conferences. The genial Henry B. Anthony (1815-1884), a Republican senator from Rhode Island, served for several years as president pro tempore of the Senate, but gave up that post when he was elected conference chairman in 1875. As chair, Anthony acted much like the later majority leaders, giving committee assignments to members of his party, calling up bills for debate, and often speaking for his party on the issues of the day. He was also the author of the "Anthony Rule," an early attempt to limit debate in the Senate in the days before cloture. Known as the Father of the Senate, Anthony served from 1859 until his death in 1884.