Chapter 17

17-1 Election of 1864

The United States presidential election of 1864 was the 20th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 1864. Abraham Lincoln was re-elected as president. Electoral College votes were counted from 25 states. Since the election of 1860, the Electoral College had expanded with the admission of Kansas, West Virginia, and Nevada as free states, but due to the American Civil War, no electoral votes were counted from any of the eleven Southern states

17-2 Lincoln Assassinated

Abraham Lincoln’s killer, John Wilkes Booth, was a Maryland native born in 1838 who remained in the North during the Civil War despite his Confederate sympathies. As the conflict entered its final stages, he and several associates hatched a plot to kidnap the president and take him to Richmond, the Confederate capital. However, on March 20, 1865, the day of the planned kidnapping, Lincoln failed to appear at the spot where Booth and his six fellow conspirators lay in wait. Two weeks later, Richmond fell to Union forces. In April, with Confederate armies near collapse across the South, Booth came up with a desperate plan to save the Confederacy.

17-3 African Americans in Government

One of the most important aspects of Reconstruction was the active participation of African Americans in the political, economic and social life of the South. The era was to a great extent defined by their quest for autonomy and equal rights under the law, both as individuals and for the black community as a whole. During Reconstruction, some 2,000 African Americans held public office, from the local level all the way up to the U.S. Senate, though they never achieved representation in government proportionate to their numbers.

17-4 The Election of 1876

The election of 1876 came down to a fight between Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden of New York in one of the most controversial campaigns in American history. Tilden won the popular vote and led in the electoral college, 184-166. Oregon's count was also challenged. 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. The 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. 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."