Indiana became the 19th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution and enter the Union.
James Noble of Brookeville and Waller Taylor of Vincennes took the oath of office as Indiana's first two senators. Class selection was determined by lot, with Noble drawing Class 3, a four-year term ending March 3, 1821, and Taylor drawing Class 2, with a two-year term ending March 3, 1819.
The Senate resolved a contested election case that pitted Jesse D. Bright and Graham N. Fitch of Logansport against Harry S. Lane and William M. McCarty. Following a dispute over the conduct of the 1857 election, the Senate voted to allow Fitch and Bright to retain their seats.
Schuyler Colfax presided over the Senate as the 17th vice president of the United States. Born in New York City, but raised in New Carlisle, Indiana, Colfax enjoyed a long and distinguished career in public office, including representing his Indiana district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1855 to 1869, and as Speaker of the House from 1863 to 1869.
Thomas A. Hendricks of Indianapolis presided over the Senate as the 21st vice president of the United States. Born in Ohio, but raised in Indiana, Hendricks practiced law and served in state government before becoming a U.S. representative in 1851, and then a U.S. senator in 1863. Following one six-year term in the Senate, he served as governor of Indiana before his election as vice president in 1884.
A marble statue of Oliver Hazard Perry Throck Morton, sculpted by Charles H. Niehaus and standing 7 feet 6 inches tall, was donated to the Capitol, becoming Indiana's first contribution to the National Statuary Hall Collection. A circuit court judge, lieutenant governor of Indiana, and U.S. senator from 1867 to 1877, Morton was a staunch supporter of President Abraham Lincoln and the Union cause.
Charles W. Fairbanks of Indianapolis presided over the Senate as the 26th vice president of the United States. Born in Ohio, Fairbanks established his law practice in Indianapolis in the 1870s. At the time he became Theodore Roosevelt's vice-presidential running mate in 1904, Fairbanks was serving as a U.S. senator from Indiana.
A marble statue of General Lew Wallace (1827-1905), sculpted by Andrew O'Connor and standing 6 feet 10 inches tall, was donated to the Capitol, becoming Indiana's second contribution to the National Statuary Hall Collection. A successful lawyer, soldier, and diplomat, Wallace was also the author of the best-selling novel, Ben Hur.
Thomas R. Marshall presided over the Senate as the 28th vice president of the United States. Born in North Manchester, Indiana, Marshall practiced law before entering government service. In 1912 he was elected vice president on the Democratic ticket with Woodrow Wilson. The Wilson-Marshall ticket was re-elected in 1916, and Marshall served as vice president until 1921.
Senator James E. Watson of Rushville served as chairman of the Committee on Interstate Commerce (today's Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation), a position he held until 1928.
Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indianapolis was elected chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, a position he held until 1985.
J. Danforth Quayle presided over the Senate as the 44th vice president of the United States. Born in Indianapolis, Quayle practiced law in Indiana prior to being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976 and then to the Senate in 1980. At the time of his election as vice president, on the Republican ticket with George H. W. Bush, Quayle was in his second term as a U.S. senator.