Election of 1876
38 States
Official Returns

Rutherford B. Hayes Rep.
Popular Vote 4,036,572-48.0%
Electoral Vote 185*

Samuel J. Tilden Dem.
Popular Vote 4,284,020-51.0%
Electoral Vote 184

Peter Cooper Greenback Party
1% of popular vote

Disputed FL, NC, LA The Election was one were the candidates agreed on most issues. This led to a great deal of attack on each other’s character. Early returns favored Tilden with 184 electoral votes and a 300,000 led in the popular vote. However three states were disputed. Democrats demanded, “a free ballot and a fair count”. On January 29, 1877 Congress appointed a Special Election Commission to resolve the issue. After Illinois Dem. David Davis turned his back on his party and sided with the Rep. Party the vote of the commission went 8-7 in favor of Hayes. The report was accepted on March 2, 1877 with the support of Southern Dem. who were give promises of a total withdraw of U.S. troops from Reconstruction South.
Like Election 2000, the Election of 1876 the nation remained divided on the issue of who really won.

The election of 1876 had an outcome quite unlike any other until the election of 2000 which was similar in several aspects.

In the vast majority of extraordinary situations the Supreme Court sets a standard to follow for all cases with similar characteristics to be faced in the future. However, due to the intense corruption entangling the political scene during the election of 1876 the Supreme Court filed to set a standard to be followed.

When the election results were turned in after being counted by groups of Democrats and Republicans several states turned in two counts. One count in which the Democrats won the state and similarly another count conducted by the Republicans in which their party captured the states' electoral votes.

This is similar to the disputed vote counts that have scarred the election of 2000 between George Bush and Al Gore. However, the election of 1876 was not defaulted to he Supreme Court for a final decision. Instead, a group of 15 delegates was formed to negotiate for the presidency. This group of delegates derived the Compromise of 1877. In this compromise, the presidency was given to the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, despite the fact that it was now obvious that the Democratic candidate, Samuel J. Tilden had won the election by a respectable margin.

Despairingly, in line with the times, political corruption and bargaining played a role in the outcome of this election. The Democrats conceded the presidency to Hayes in exchange for an end to military reconstruction in the southern states. This quickly ended the precious freedoms that the black citizens had been allowed to exercise for a few short years. The right to vote was not returned to African-Americans for approximately 100 years.

How could such corruption have been enabled to consume the highest office in the United States? Clearly this would not be tolerated in the current social settings of our nation. Shortly before the turn of the century when this election occurred, mass communication was not available to the public. The entire election was decided before the public eyes and ears were allowed to pass their judgment upon it. In a technologically advanced society run by the Internet and other forms of mass communication, these actions would have been swiftly halted. This is the reason why the election of 2000 was handed to the Supreme Court. Thankfully, we are all to keep an eye on our political system via many forms of mass communication. If you think politics are corrupt now, consider the previous situation as proof that they have actually become much cleaner.

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