1856 United States House of Representatives election in Florida

← 1854 October 6, 1856 1858 →
Rep George Sydney Hawkins.jpg
James McNair Baker.png
Nominee George Sydney Hawkins James McNair Baker
Party Democratic Know Nothing
Popular vote 6,392 5,650
Percentage 53.08% 46.92%

Representative before election

Augustus Maxwell

Elected Representative

George Sydney Hawkins

The 1856 United States House of Representatives election in Florida was held on Monday, October 6, 1856 to elect the single United States Representative from the state of Florida, one from the state's single at-large congressional district, to represent Florida in the 35th Congress. The election coincided with the elections of other offices, including the presidential election, the senatorial election, the gubernatorial election, and various state and local elections.[1]

The winning candidate would serve a two-year term in the United States House of Representatives from March 4, 1857, to March 4, 1859.


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Florida's single seat in the House of Representatives had been held by the Democrats since 1852. In the 1854 election, the Democratic Party made key gains in the former Whig strongholds of Pensacola and Jacksonville. By 1856, the Whig Party had collapsed, and they were replaced in the South by the Know Nothing Party, also known as the American Party, which was serving as a successor to the prior Anti-Masonic Party.





Know Nothing



Baker campaigned heavily alongside the Know Nothing candidates for president and governor, former President Millard Fillmore and former Tallahassee Mayor David S. Walker, respectively.[5] However, Baker fell severely ill during the election and was not able to campaign properly for the last few months, instead relying on Walker to campaign for him. This put Baker, a political unknown, at a severe disadvantage to Hawkins, who was a popular judge throughout the state.[6]

General election


Florida's at-large congressional district election, 1856[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic George Sydney Hawkins 6,392 53.08% -2.18%
Know Nothing James McNair Baker 5,650 46.92% N/A
Majority 742 6.16% -4.37%
Turnout 12,042 100.00%
Democratic hold

See also


  1. ^ "Our Campaigns - FL At Large Race - Oct 06, 1856". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  2. ^ "Judge George Sydney Hawkins". Pensacola Gazette. 1856-03-08. p. 2. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  3. ^ "1856 Florida Democratic Convention". Pensacola Gazette. 1856-04-26. p. 2. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  4. ^ "Our Candidate". Pensacola Gazette. 1856-06-21. p. 2. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  5. ^ "Col. Baker in Pensacola". Pensacola Gazette. 1856-08-19. p. 2. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  6. ^ "Grand Rally!". Pensacola Gazette. 1856-08-12. p. 2. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  7. ^ "FL At Large - 1856". Our Campaigns. Retrieved October 19, 2020.