Election of 1876
Ayoung Jo and Ankit Pradhan
Election of 1876 - Hayes vs. Tilden
The Election of 1876 was one of the most disputed presidential elections in the history of this country. At the end of his second term, President Ulysses S. Grant wanted to run again for presidency. However, the scandals during his presidency as well as the well-honored tradition of two-term presidency prevented him from running his third time. Instead, the Republican party put forth Rutherford B Hayes, the governor of Ohio who had made a name for himself as a civil service and government reformer (within Ohio). Hayes’ opponent from the Democratic party was Samuel Tilden, the governor of New York who had risen to fame by bagging Boss Tweed, a notorious political boss in New York. Tilden received more of the popular vote (4,300,590 votes as compared to Hayes’ 4,036,298) while Hayes received 1 more electoral vote (185) than Tilden (184). There were 20 disputed electoral votes from Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina, so an electoral commision (composed of 7 Democrats, 7 Republicans and 1 Supreme Court Justice) was formed. However, it didn’t work out very well, because the Supreme Court Justice, David Davis, could not handle the pressure thrown upon him and abstained from voting where the disputed votes would go. The disputed votes were eventually given to Hayes (one of the conditions proposed in Compromise of 1877), making him the next president of the United States.
As it was one of the closest race for presidency, it was the most heatedly disputed. The dispute over which candidate, Hayes or Tilden later led to the Compromise of 1877. In addition to making the Republican candidate Hayes the winner of the election, the compromise brought many other significant changes in America. It ultimately ended the Reconstruction of the era when the military was removed from the South (in return for Democratic party letting the Republican party win the election).
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