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Yankee Doodle Dandies: 40 Members of Congress Born on July 4th

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Over the past 284 years, 40 eventual U.S. Senators and Representatives from 22 states were born on the 4th of July

samfarr10.jpgIndependence Day is sometimes remembered by historians not simply for the document adopted by the Continental Congress in 1776, but also as the date on which three presidents died.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day in 1826 and James Monroe passed away five years later in 1831.

Sometimes forgotten is that July 4th also marks the birth of a president - Calvin Coolidge, in 1872 - as well as more than three-dozen members of Congress who served dating back to the late 1700s.

A Smart Politics review of information provided in the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress finds that 40 U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives from 22 states were born on the Fourth of July - including one who was born on July 4th, 1776.

Three of these 40 members of Congress were actually born before the 4th of July became a significant day in American history:

· Three-term Massachusetts U.S. Representative George Leonard of Massachusetts was born in 1729.
· One-term Virginia U.S. Representative William Lewis was born in 1766.
· One-term Connecticut U.S. Representative James Stevens was born in 1768.

One future congressman was born on the very day the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence: Ethan Brown of Ohio was born on July 4, 1776.

As a young man Brown studied law under Alexander Hamilton and later served as governor of Ohio from 1818 to 1822 as well as three years in the Senate from 1822 to 1825.

Brown would end his political career in Indiana as a member of its House of Representatives in 1842.

Overall, seven members of Congress were born on the Fourth of July in the 1700s with 28 in the 1800s and just five in the 1900s.

Five served in the U.S. Senate, 32 served in the House of Representatives, and three served in both legislative chambers.

Two current members of the U.S. House were born on Independence Day: 11-term Democrat Sam Farr of California's 20th Congressional District (pictured at top, born in 1941) and Democrat Dan Maffei of New York who has served two nonconsecutive terms in the state's 25th and 24th districts.

Farr is the longest-serving member of either chamber who was born on July 4th.

A total of 22 states have had at least one member of the U.S. House or Senate born on Independence Day, led by New York with seven, Ohio with four, and California and Kentucky with three each.

Is someone from your home state a Yankee Doodle Dandy?

40 U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives Born on July 4th

· California: Lawrence Flaherty, 1-term Republican U.S. Representative (born 1878).
· California: George Murphy, 1-term Republican U.S. Senator (born 1902).
· California: Sam Farr, 11-term Democratic U.S. Representative (born 1941).
· Connecticut: James Stevens, 1-term Jeffersonian-Republican U.S. Representative (born 1768).
· Illinois: James Knox, 2-term Whig / Opposition U.S. Representative (born 1807).
· Illinois: George Fithian, 3-term Democrat U.S. Representative (born 1854).
· Indiana: John Peterson, 1-term Democratic U.S. Representative (born 1850).
· Iowa: James Howell, 1-term Republican U.S. Senator (born 1816).
· Kansas: Homer Hoch, 7-term Republican U.S. Representative (born 1879).
· Kentucky: Elijah Hise, 2-term Democratic U.S. Representative (born 1802).
· Kentucky: William Wadsworth, 3-term Unionist / Republican U.S. Representative (born 1821).
· Kentucky: Green Smith, 2-term Unconditional Unionist U.S. Representative (born 1826).
· Massachusetts: George Leonard, 3-term Pro-Administration / Federalist U.S. Representative (born 1729).
· Massachusetts: Gayton Osgood, 1-term Jacksonian U.S. Representative (born 1797).
· Michigan: John Luecke, 1-term Democratic U.S. Representative (born 1889).
· Michigan: James Harvey, 7-term Republican U.S. Representative (born 1922).
· Minnesota: James Cavanaugh, 1-term Democratic U.S. Representative (born 1823). Later served two-terms as a delegate from Montana.
· New Hampshire: Charles Atherton, 3-term Democratic U.S. Representative and 2-term Democratic U.S. Senator (born 1804).
· New Jersey: Florence Dwyer, 8-term Republican U.S. Representative (born 1902).
· New York: Ely Moore, 2-term Jacksonian / Democratic U.S. Representative (born 1798).
· New York: John Thompson, 1-term Republican U.S. Representative (born 1809).
· New York: Emory Pottle, 2-term Republican U.S. Representative (born 1815).
· New York: Reuben Fenton, 5-term Republican U.S. Representative and 1-term U.S. Senator (born 1819).
· New York: George Greene, 1-term Democratic U.S. Representative (born 1831).
· New York: Charles L. Knapp, 5-term Republican U.S. Representative (born 1847).
· New York: Dan Maffei, 2-term Democratic U.S. Representative (born 1968).
· Ohio: Ethan Brown, 1-term Jeffersonian-Republican / Adams-Clay Republican U.S. Senator (born 1776).
· Ohio: Alfonso Hart, 1-term Republican U.S. Representative (born 1830).
· Ohio: Charles Brown, 2-term Republican U.S. Representative (born 1834).
· Ohio: Rufus Dawes, 1-term Republican U.S. Representative (born 1838).
· Pennsylvania: George Eckert, 1-term Whig U.S. Representative (born 1802).
· South Carolina: William Miles, 2-term Democratic U.S. Representative (born 1822).
· South Carolina: Corrine Boyd Riley, 1-term Democratic U.S. Representative (born 1893).
· Tennessee: Lawrence Tyson, 1-term Democratic U.S. Senator (born 1861).
· Texas: Samuel Lanham, 8-term Democratic U.S. Representative (born 1846).
· Vermont: George Hodges, 1-term Republican U.S. Representative (born 1789).
· Virginia: William Lewis, 1-term Jeffersonian-Republican U.S. Representative (born 1766).
· West Virginia: Frank Hereford, 3-term Democratic U.S. Representative and 1-term Democratic U.S. Senator (born 1825).
· West Virginia: John Pendleton, 3-term Democratic U.S. Representative (born 1851).
· Wisconsin: Angus Cameron, 2-term Republican U.S. Senator (born 1826).

On the flip side, a total of 35 U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives have died on July 4th over the past few centuries with the most recent being five-term North Carolina U.S. Senator Jesse Helms in 2008.

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1 Comment


  • That is absolutely amazing. At first the title makes it seem like 40 currently serving members were born on July 4th, yet even 40 in all of history so far is still a high number.
    It can be suggested that being born on the fourth of July had some impetus to propel those people more than others toward an interest in politics and patriotism, all the way to running for and serving in high public offices.
    The high number of deaths of public officials on July 4th cannot, however, be similarly explained.

  • Leave a comment


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