In the controversial presidential election of 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes emerged as the victor over Samuel J. Tilden in a race that was tainted with accusations of fraud and corruption. However, what many people don’t know is that there were several compromises and deals made behind closed doors that helped sway the outcome of this pivotal moment in American history.
Overview of the 1876 Election
The 1876 election was one of the most contentious and controversial presidential elections in American history. At the center of the dispute was the outcome of the presidential election, which resulted in a victory for Republican Rutherford B. Hayes over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden. The election was marred by allegations of fraud and corruption, and it took nearly two months for a winner to be declared.
The background to the 1876 election was the Reconstruction era, which followed the Civil War and saw a period of intense political turmoil in the United States. The main issue in the election was whether Hayes or Tilden would assume control of Reconstruction policy. Hayes favored a more gradual approach to Reconstruction, while Tilden favored a more immediate withdrawal of federal troops from the South.
In addition to the issues surrounding Reconstruction, there were also allegations of fraud and corruption leveled against both candidates. These charges added to the already-high tension surrounding the election, and ultimately led to weeks of legal challenges and recounts before Hayes was declared the winner.
Despite all of the controversy, Hayes ultimately won the election by a margin of just one electoral vote. His victory was due in part to several backroom deals and compromises that were made between Republicans and Democrats in order to resolve the disputed election. These deals included an agreement to withdraw federal troops from the South, as well as an agreement to appoint southern Democrats to positions in Hayess cabinet.
Controversy Surrounding the Results
The election of 1876 was one of the most controversial in American history. Samuel Tilden, the Democratic candidate, won the popular vote by more than 250,000 votes. However, he was one electoral vote short of the required number to win the presidency. In the end, it was a deal between Democrats and Republicans that gave Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency, even though he lost the popular vote.
This controversy surrounding the results led to a lot of public outcry. Many people felt that Tilden had been cheated out of the presidency. The election was also marred by allegations of voter fraud and voter intimidation. As a result, it was one of the most disputed elections in American history.
Compromise of 1877 and its Impact on the Election
The Compromise of 1877 was a deal between the Republicans and the Democrats that resulted in the election of Rutherford B. Hayes as president. The Democrats agreed to allow Hayes to take office in exchange for the withdrawal of federal troops from the South, which would end Reconstruction. The Compromise of 1877 had a significant impact on the election, as it essentially handed victory to Hayes. This compromise is often seen as one of the factors that led to the decline of Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow laws.
The Role of Congress in Deciding the Winner
In 1876, Samuel J. Tilden, the Democratic candidate for president, won the popular vote by a margin of more than 250,000 votes. But he failed to win a majority in the Electoral College, and so the election was thrown into the House of Representatives. The new Republican Party had only been in existence for 15 years, and its candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, was not well-known. Nevertheless, Hayes was confident that he could win the election if it were decided by Congress.
The role of Congress in deciding the winner of a presidential election is set forth in the Constitution. If no candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, then the House of Representatives decides the winner. Each state delegation gets one vote, and a majority of states is required to win.
The election of 1876 was exceptionally close and highly contested. After months of deadlock, a group of congressional leaders from both parties met informally to try to reach a compromise. They agreed that Hayes would be awarded all 20 disputed electoral votes (which were enough to give him a majority), and in exchange, Hayes would agree to withdraw federal troops from the South (ending Reconstruction). The deal was approved by Congress and Hayes became president.
Electoral Commission’s Decision to Award Hayes the Presidency
The decision of the Electoral Commission to award Hayes the presidency was highly controversial. Democrats accused Republicans of corruption and conspiracy, and many Americans believed that the election had been stolen from Tilden. Nevertheless, Hayes was inaugurated as president in March 1877, and he served until 1881.
Reconstruction Plans Proposed by Hayes and Tilden
There were two main plans proposed for Reconstruction in 1876: the Hayes Plan and the Tilden Plan.
The Hayes Plan, also known as the Compromise of 1877, was put forward by Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. It called for an end to Reconstruction in exchange for Southern support in the Electoral College. The main provisions of the plan were:
– All federal troops would be withdrawn from the South
– Reconstruction governments would be replaced by more conservative state governments
– African Americans would not be guaranteed equal rights under the law
-Hayes would become President in exchange for Southern support in the Electoral College
The Tilden Plan, put forward by Democrat Samuel Tilden, called for a continuation of Reconstruction until all African Americans were guaranteed equal rights under the law. The main provisions of the plan were:
– All federal troops would remain in the South until African Americans were granted full equality under the law
– Reconstruction governments would stay in place until African Americans were granted full equality under the law
– African Americans would be granted full equality under the law
Lasting Impact of the Election
The election of 1876 was one of the most contentious and controversial in American history. The end result was that Rutherford B. Hayes, a Republican, became the 19th President of the United States. But it was a very close election, and it took a series of compromises and deals to get Hayes over the finish line.
One of the biggest issues in the election was Reconstruction. After the Civil War, the Union had occupied the South and put in place a series of measures to rebuild the region and ensure civil rights for African Americans. But by 1876, many Northerners were ready to move on from Reconstruction, while Southerners wanted it to end.
The long-term impact of this election was significant. The Compromise of 1877 effectively ended Reconstruction and allowed Southern states to begin passing Jim Crow laws that would segregate blacks and whites and strip them of their civil rights. This set back progress on civil rights in America for decades, until the Civil Rights Movement began in earnest in the 1950s.
Legacy of the 1876 election
The election of 1876 was a pivotal moment in US history, and its resolution through the Compromise of 1877 is still studied to this day. As we have seen, the hard-fought battle between Samuel Tilden and Rutherford B. Hayes was marked by political machinations, including electoral fraud on both sides and numerous backroom deals. Ultimately, it was the willingness of both parties to compromise that allowed for a peaceful transition of power from Tilden’s Democrats to Hayes’ Republicans. Through these concessions, the country avoided further conflict over who would become president at a time when tensions were already rising due to Reconstruction after the Civil War.