1876, The Year the Presidential Election Really Was Stolen

Discussion in 'History & Past Politicians' started by JohnHamilton, Apr 14, 2023.

  1. JohnHamilton

    JohnHamilton Well-Known Member

    Oct 17, 2022
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    Donald Trump has made a big deal about he was robbed in 2020, but there was an election where it is more than likely that the election was stolen. It happened in 1876.

    The Democrats had not won a presidential election since 1856. Twenty years later, it seemed like they were due. Eight years of the Grant administration had resulted in wide-spread scandals. The Democrats nominated Samuel J. Tilden who was a reform governor from New York.

    Samuel J. Tilden - Thomas Hendricks jugate

    SJT 1876-27.jpg

    The Republicans countered with Rutherford B. Hays from Ohio. His running mate was William Wheeler.

    RBH 1876 -5 All.jpg

    On election night, it appeared that Tilden had won. He won the popular vote by 250,000 and was just one electoral vote short of victory.

    Republican Party chairman, Zachariah Chandler had other ideas. He did some math and figured if he could impound the vote in three southern states that he could pull out a victory for Hays.

    The southern states were still under reconstruction and had military governors. He sent telegraph messages to three governors which read, “Hays is elected if we carried South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. Can you hold your state? Answer at once.” The answers were in the affirmative, and thus began the fix.

    Under normal circumstances, the election would have been sent to the House of Representatives if the Election Day result was inconclusive. If that had happened, the Democrats were in control and Tilden would have won. BUT the electoral ballots were counted in the Senate where the Republicans were in control and could pay some games.

    To make a long story short, the election was determined by 15 member panel which included five senators, five representatives and five members of the Supreme Court. The senators voted 3-2 in favor of Hays. The representatives voted 3-2 and favor of Tilden. The Supreme Court was 2-2 with David Davis holding the deciding vote.

    As it happened, the Illinois Legislature elected Davis to the U.S. Senate, which made him ineligible. His replacement was Joseph Bradley, who was a Republican, but who was thought to have an open mind on the issue. The night before the vote, carriages were lined up around his house. When the vote was taken, Bradley voted with his party, and Hays were elected president.

    Here is ticket that would have allowed you to witness history, if you had been around in 1877.

    1877 Admit Ticket.jpg

    The southern people were livid, but there was a deal in it for them. The reconstruction occupation ended, and the southern states were able to begin the Jim Crow era.

    Hays served only one term, which he had promised to do. Tilden said that he got the better end of the deal. He had received the honor of being elected president, but didn't have the burden of the office.

    Needless to say, there were many Democrats who were not happy with him at all. If you are interested, I could post pictures of some tokens that they issued which showed their displeasure.
    bigfella and Independent4ever like this.

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