Rump Senate

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

The term Rump Senate is applied to the fifteen Radical Republican members of the Twelfth Texas Legislature. In the spring of 1870 the introduction of the militia bill, which provided for discretionary power of the governor in declaring martial law, caused a fight in the Senate. The fifteen radicals were for the bill; thirteen Democrats and three conservatives were opposed. Thirteen of the opponents withdrew from the Senate to prevent the presence of a quorum and so to prevent passage of the bill. The radicals then had their opponents arrested and excluded all but four of them from their seats. The four were necessary for a quorum with which the Rump Senate passed such measures as the militia bill, a law establishing the State Police, and an act increasing the appointive power of the governor. The conservative members were held under arrest some three weeks while the Rump Senate passed the radical legislation.

Carl H. Moneyhon, Republicanism in Reconstruction Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1980). William Curtis Nunn, Texas during the Administration of E. J. Davis (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1938). Charles W. Ramsdell, Reconstruction in Texas (New York: Columbia University Press, 1910; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1970).

Time Periods:

  • Reconstruction

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Rump Senate,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 23, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995