And Know You Know More: The Election of 1876: Part III

Share

By Thomas Best

Over the last two weeks, we have studied the highly contentious and controversial 1876 presidential election between the Republican’s Rutherford Hayes and the Democrat’s, Samuel Tilden. We have examined the candidate’s backgrounds as state governors and stalwart defenders of their party’s platforms. We have analyzed the truly hostile nature of the campaign in the late 19th century (no these not always the “good old days”).  Today, we will study how the voting played out.  

When all the available popular votes were counted from 81% of the eligible public, Tilden was shown as having won the popular vote by a margin of 250,000 votes (and in case you are wondering, Hayes won out in Illinois—but by a narrow margin). However, despite what the voting stations showed across the country in his favor, Tilden was till one electoral vote shy of having the required majority 185 tallies. Hayes had 165 votes in his favor. The main sticking point was that 20 of the electoral votes across several southern states of the old Confederacy and Oregon were being challenged by the nervous Republicans. As a note: Hayes initially thought he would lose and said some things in public that seemed to offer his surrender to the inevitability of a defeat. His staunchest Republican allies told him to quiet such talk.

The challenge on behalf of the GOP came in regards to the roadblocks and deadly threats that these southern states had employed to keep freed African Americans from voting. For instance, in Mississippi, white Democrats had voted for Tilden by a 30,000-vote margin. Ex-slaves who attempted to vote were frequently terrorized, and sometimes murdered. Historians today blame the Grant administration in part for not more actively enforcing the protections of the 14th and 15th amendments which provided the voting rights of black Americans. Moreover, there were obvious irregularities in state of South Carolina. More than 100% of the eligible votes had been cast. One allegation was that some Democratic voters disguised themselves to come in and vote over and over. One report alleged that bearded men came in to vote and then shaved their beards and entered a second time to vote again. By the time it was time to count the electoral college votes, several of the contested states sent competing committees of electors showed up to cast their ballots.

The Constitution has not clear on how such a chaotic situation should be resolved. What should the country do?  Next week, we will discuss how this controversy was resolved.

Spread the word

Featured News Podcasts

Trending Now

Choose a Category

Subscribe to our Community Newsletter

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Prairie Communications, 55 Public Square, Monmouth, IL, 61462, https://977wmoi.com/. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Continue Reading

Rain Kicks off Holiday Weekend

Today Sunny, with a high near 81. South wind 5 to 10 mph. Tonight A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 5am. Partly cloudy, with a low around

Man Charged in Knox Co. Burglaries

A man face charges following multiple burglaries in the Knox County area. Steven Strickland was arrested Tuesday after an investigation into multiple storage unit burglaries throughout the Knox and Warren

This Memorial Day Weekend, Click it to Avoid a Ticket

The Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and more than 200 law enforcement offices throughout the state are participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s high-visibility “Click It