Divided Government

December 22, 1954

Report Outline
Divided Government
Divided Control in Previous Administrations
Cooperation or Conflict with New Congress
Special Focus

Divided Government

When the 84th Congress convenes on Jan. 5, President Eisenhower will face the difficult task of conducting the business of government with the Executive and Legislative branches under divided political control. Midway in his administration, the President finds himself confronted with a Senate and House of Representatives led by the opposition party, and with a serious rift in the ranks of his own party. In the remaining two years of his current term, moreover, he will have to contend with burdensome foreign and domestic problems in a political atmosphere pervaded by approach of the presidential election contest of 1956.

Nine other Presidents since the Civil War have had to deal with Congresses in which the political opposition controlled at least one house; four of them had such opposition in both houses. Although their experiences varied widely, they all encountered formidable difficulties.

Democratic Recapture of the Legislative Branch

Control of the 84th Congress was captured by the Democrats on Nov. 2 only by the narrowest of margins. In the Senate the Democrats made a net gain of one seat, which gave them a total of 48, as against the Republicans' 47 seats, and put them in position to organize the Senate with the aid of Sen. Morse (Ind., Ore.). Democratic control of the House was won by a wider margin—232 Democrats to 203 Republicans, or a Democratic majority of 29 seats.

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