Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

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The Speaker of the House is a Member of Congress who serves as the leader of the United States House of Representatives

Constitutional Role

The position was created by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. However it is vague on the particularities of the position, as it is on many other positions, leaving it up to the House to flesh it out. Our Founding Fathers created the position recognizing the need for a leader to run the House. Although a Speaker is not required to be a member of Congress, no Speaker who is not in Congress has ever been elected.


Traditionally the majority party has chosen the Speaker after the biannual Congressional Elections. If the majority party does not have its members vote for their candidate, a minority party member could become Speaker. However this has never occurred in the history of the Union.


Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg1789-1791
Jonathan Trumbull, Jr.1791-1793
Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg1793-1795
Jonathan Dayton1795-1799
Theodore Sedgwick1799-1801
Nathaniel Macon1801-1807
Joseph Bradley Varnum1807-1811
Henry Clay1811-1814
Langdon Cheves1814-1815
Henry Clay1815-1820
John W. Taylor1820-1821
Philip Pendleton Barbour1821-1823
Henry Clay1823-1825
John W. Taylor1825-1827
Andrew Stevenson1827-1834
John Bell1834-1835
James Knox Polk1835-1839
Robert M. T. Hunter1839-1841
John White1841-1843
John Winston Jones1843-1845
John Wesley Davis1845-1847
Robert Charles Winthrop1847-1849
Howell Cobb1849-1851
Linn Boyd1851-1855
Nathaniel Prentice Banks1856-1857
James Lawrence Orr1857-1859
William Pennington1860-1861
Galusha A. Grow1861-1863
Schuyler Colfax1863-1869
Theodore Medad Pomeroy1869
James G. Blaine1869-1875
Michael Crawford Kerr1875-1876
Samuel Jackson Randall1876-1881
Joseph Warren Keifer1881-1883
John Griffin Carlisle1883-1889
Thomas Brackett Reed1889-1891
Charles Frederick Crisp1891-1895
Thomas Brackett Reed1895-1899
David B. Henderson1899-1903
Joseph Gurney Cannon1903-1911
Champ Clark1911-1919
Frederick Gillett1919-1925
Nicholas Longworth1925-1931
John Nance Garner1931-1933
Henry T. Rainey1933-1934
Joseph Wellington Byrns1935-1936
William Brockman Bankhead1936-1940
Sam Rayburn1940-1947
Joseph Martin1947-1949
Sam Rayburn1949-1953
Joseph Martin1953-1955
Sam Rayburn1955-1961
John McCormack1961-1971
Carl Bert Albert1971-1977
Tip O' Neill1977-1987
James Wright1987-1989
Thomas Foley1989-1995
Newt Gingrich1995-1999
J. Dennis Hastert1999-2007
Nancy Pelosi2007-2010
John Boehner2010-2013
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