The Disputed Presidential Election of 1876
In 1876, Democrat Samuel Tilden ran for president against Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. On election night, it was clear that Tilden had won the popular vote, but it was also clear that votes in Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and Oregon were fraudulent because of voter intimidation. Republicans knew that if the electoral votes from these four states were thrown out, Hayes would win. The country hovered near civil war as both Democrats and Republicans claimed victory. Illustrator Thomas Nast drew this cartoon, Tilden or Blood, showing the Democrats threatening violence. On January 29, 1877, a highly partisan Electoral Commission, made up of eight Republicans and seven Democrats, was established by Congress to settle the issue. Under the terms of the Tilden-Hayes Election Compromise, Hayes became president and the Republicans agreed to remove the last Federal troops from Southern territory, ending Reconstruction.
Image: Harper’s Weekly