Mississippi's Congressional Delegation
SenatorsSenator Thad Cochran (R)
Senator Roger Wicker (R)
|Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R - 01)
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D - 02)
Rep. Gregg Harper (R - 03)
Rep. Steven Palazzo (R - 04)
History of Mississippians in the Senate
The territory destined to become Mississippi was ceded to the United States by Spain in 1795. Congress admitted Mississippi as the twentieth State on December 10, 1817, and the first Senators, Walter Leake and Thomas Hill Williams, took their seats the following day.
Forty-five men have represented the "Magnolia State" in the Senate. Although 28 served less than a full six-year term, many gained influence through long service as spokesmen for the South or through exceptional oratorical and leadership skills. George Poindexter (1830-1835) was a brilliant orator and engaged in longstanding feuds with Daniel Webster and Andrew Jackson. Henry Stuart Foote (1847-1852) supported Henry Clay's Compromise of 1850 and served as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Jefferson Davis ( 1847-1851; 1857-1861) was a leading defender of State rights during the sectional controversies leading up to the War between the States and served as President of the Confederacy. Hiram Revels (1870-1871) was the first African-American elected to the Senate, and Blanche K. Bruce (1875-1881) was the first African-American to serve a full term in the Senate. Lucius Q. C. Lamar (1877-1885) advocated reconciliation of the North and South after the War and became the only Mississippian to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. James Z. George (1881-1897), known among his constituents as "the Great Commoner," played an important role in framing the Sherman Antitrust Act and worked for aid to education and civil service reform. John Sharp Williams (1911-1922) was the first U.S. Senator in the Nation to be elected by popular ballot. (He was first elected in 1911, after Mississippi had created a direct primary for U.S. Senate elections but before the Seventeenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution required it in 1913).
Pat Harrison (1919-1941), as Chairman of the Finance Committee in 1935, guided the Social Security Act to passage, establishing a national retirement pension system. Senator James O. Eastland (1941-1941; 1943-1978) served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee and was a strong advocate of States' rights, agriculture, and national security. John C. Stennis (1947-1989) served in the Senate for 41 years, the sixth longest tenure in Senate history. (Indeed, Senators Eastland and Stennis represented Mississippi concurrently in the Senate for 31 years, the longest period of simultaneous service of any State in the Union.) Senator Stennis not only served as chairman of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Appropriations, he drafted the first formal code of ethics for the Senate and was selected to chair the forerunner of the present Select Committee on Ethics.
The two Mississippians honored with statues in the Capitol were both Senators: the statue of Jefferson Davis is in Statuary Hall, and the statue of James Z. George stands in the Capitol Visitor Center.
Mississippi's United Stated Senators