We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Majority Whip?

By Matt Brady
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
America Explained is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At America Explained, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Majority Whip is a position in United States (U.S.) politics that's delegated to an elected official belonging to the majority party in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Both the Republican and Democratic parties use a Majority Whip. Minority Whips are also used by the party holding fewer seats in one or both houses of Congress. Majority and Minority Whips are primarily responsible for keeping track of party members, to ensure that members are in attendance for important votes and events. In other words, whips help enforce important party protocol and procedure, as a commander might help keep soldiers in their proper file. In the U.S., the Majority Whip is one of the highest ranking positions in both the House and Senate.

The U.S. is not the first country to use party whips, nor is it the only nation to continue their use today. Before the U.S. adopted the position, whips were used in parliament in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Parliament derived the title of whip from fox hunting. When hunting foxes, it was the job of the "whipper in" to keep the fox hounds in order while on hunting expeditions. This idea translated easily to politics, where whips were appointed to keep their party members focused and in line when it came to voting on important measures. Some other nations to adopt the position are Australia, India and New Zealand. Like the U.S., many of the nations using whips were originally influenced either by British colonial rule or by some other political relationship with the U.K.

The first Majority Whip to be appointed in the U.S. was Minnesota Representative James A. Tawney in 1897. Tawney was appointed by then Speaker of the House Thomas B. Reed, who created the position for Tawney to keep tabs on members of the Republican Party. Democrats did not take long in responding with their own whip position. In 1899, The Democratic Party appointed Oscar W. Underwood as their first whip. He was, however, a Minority Whip; the first Democratic Majority Whip, Thomas M. Bell, wasn’t appointed until 1913. Although the Republicans had used whips in every session of Congress since 1897, the Democrats did not use whips consistently until Bell was appointed, after which it became standard practice for both parties to appoint whips for every session of Congress.

Majority and Minority whips often use assistant whips to help cover different geographic regions. These are sometimes called regional whips. Congressional whip structures also often include other rankings of whip positions, such as Senior Chief Deputy Whips, At-Large Whips and Chief Deputy Whips. Although whips are most commonly talked of in reference to Congress, many state legislatures also appoint whips.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon934197 — On Feb 19, 2014

How much power does a Majority whip have actually?

By Authordor — On Jan 16, 2014
There is no term limit for a Majority Whip in Congress. The House and the Senate can elect new Whips at the start of each new session of Congress, which lasts two years. They are elected to the position for as long as the members of their caucus feel that they are doing a job in the best interests of the party. Many times, if the majority of Democrats and Republicans changes due to new elections in either the House or Senate, the Majority Whip will continue on as the Minority Whip or vice versa.
By dreyne — On Jan 16, 2014

How long can a member of congress be a majority whip?

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.