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The Fraud of the Century (redirected from The Election of 1876)

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 5 years, 1 month ago



The Centennial Crisis: The Disputed Election of 1876 

The Democrats first real chance to recapture the White House since 1860 leads to a pitched battle over disputed returns from

four states as bipartisan commission is formed to resolve the electoral crisis. 



The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents - Hayes 



 Two part cartoon showing: woman, "the Solid South", carrying Ulysses S. Grant in a carpet bag marked "carpet bag and bayonet rule";

Rutherford B. Hayes plowing under the carpet bag & bayonets with a plow marked "Let'em alone policy".





A Splendid Failure - Reconstruction  to Redemption 

By 1872, most white males had regained right to vote, Southern states returned to much how they had been before Reconstruction. By 1873, many white Southerners were calling for “Redemption” – the return of white supremacy and the removal of rights for blacks – instead of Reconstruction.


This political pressure to return to the old order was oftentimes backed up by mob and paramilitary violence, with the Ku Klux Klan, the White League, and the Red Shirts assassinating pro-Reconstruction politicians and terrorizing Southern blacks. Within a few years, Northern attentions were consumed by apathy and fatigue and the South slipped back toward many of the patterns of the antebellum era.




So dire was the situation that historian W. E. B. DuBois described the period as one where “The slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery."





Key Elections in US History ;   The status of women in 1876


Contest The election of 1876 came down to a fight between Rutherford Hayes of Ohio  and Democrat Samuel Tilden of New York. Tilden won the popular vote and led in the electoral college, 184-166, but 19 votes from three Republican-controlled states (Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina) remained disputed.


Allegations of widespread voter fraud forced Congress to set up a special electoral commission to determine the winner, composed of fifteen congressmen and Supreme Court justices.





CommissionThe commission finally announced their decision only two days before the inauguration. The vote was 8-7 along party lines to award the disputed Electoral College votes to Hayes, making him the winner.  


Compromise: Southern Democrats threatened rebellion over what they saw as a stolen election, forcing a deal to placate them. The deal is often referred to as "The Compromise of 1877." In return for the Democrats' agreement in Hayes' election, the Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction. The Compromise effectively yielded power in the Southern states to the Democrats.Even so, Democrats sneered at the deal, dubbing Hayes "Rutherfraud" and "His Fraudulency."











Historian C. Vann Woodward coined the phrase in his 1951 book Reunion and Reaction. Professor Woodward outlines the agreement below:

#1 Troops will be recalled from the statehouse property in the three states.


#2 Funds will be provided to build the Texas and Pacific Railroad.


#3 A southerner will be appointed as Postmaster General.


#4 Funds will be appropriated to rebuild the economy in the South.


#5 The solution to the race problem will be left to the state governments.


Who negotiated this "Compromise?"
Advocates of this theory believe that representatives of both parties met at the Wormley Hotel in Washington, DC on February 26, 1877. The terms of the agreement were negotiated at this meeting.




Consequence: As reconstruction ended, South returned to conservative policies Redeemers Conservative, Antebellum-style Southern politicians. Once southern state governments came under the control of southern Democrats, their rights were curtailed even more. “Jim Crow” laws, passed in the 1880’s and 1890’s, separated African Americans and whites in all public facilities.  The poll tax, literacy test, and grandfather clause were used into the 1950’s to keep African Americans from voting.  Extreme physical violence, including lynching, was not only tolerated, but at times even encouraged by white politicians and business leaders.












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