1876 Democratic National Convention

The 1876 Democratic National Convention assembled in St. Louis just nine days after the conclusion of the Republican National Convention in Cincinnati.

This was the first political convention held west of the Mississippi River. St. Louis was notified in February 1876 that it had been selected. Among the events was a fireworks display from the top of the Old Courthouse.

1876 Democratic National Convention
1876 presidential election
Thomas Andrews Hendricks
Tilden and Hendricks
Date(s)June 27–29, 1876
CitySt. Louis, Missouri
VenueMerchants Exchange Building
Presidential nomineeSamuel Tilden of New York
Vice Presidential nomineeThomas Hendricks of Indiana


The convention was called to order by Democratic National Committee chairman Augustus Schell. Henry Watterson served as the temporary convention chairman and John Alexander McClernand, a retired congressman and major general, served as permanent convention president.


The Democratic platform pledged to replace the corruption of the Grant administration with honest, efficient government and to end "the rapacity of carpetbag tyrannies" in the South; called for treaty protection for naturalized U.S. citizens visiting their homeland, restrictions on Oriental immigration, and tariff reform; and opposed land grants to railroads.[1]

Presidential nomination

Presidential candidates

1876 Democratic National Convention - Missouri (cropped)
Interior of the Merchants Exchange Building of St. Louis, Missouri, during the announcement of Samuel J. Tilden as the Democratic presidential nominee

The 12th Democratic National Convention assembled in St. Louis in June 1876. Five thousand people jammed the auditorium in St. Louis, hoping for the Democrats' first presidential victory in 20 years. The platform called for immediate and sweeping reforms following the scandal-plagued Grant administration.

Six names were placed in nomination: Samuel J. Tilden, Thomas A. Hendricks, Winfield Scott Hancock, William Allen, Thomas F. Bayard, and Joel Parker. Tilden won more than 400 votes on the first ballot and the nomination by a landslide on the second. Although Tilden was strongly opposed by "Honest John" Kelly, the leader of New York's Tammany Hall, he was still able to obtain the nomination. It is claimed that Tilden's nomination was received by the voting Democrats with more enthusiasm than any leader since Andrew Jackson.[2]

Presidential Ballot
1st Before Shifts 1st After Shifts 2nd Before Shifts 2nd After Shifts Unanimous
Samuel J. Tilden 400.5 416.5 535 517 738
Thomas A. Hendricks 139.5 139.5 85 87
Winfield Scott Hancock 75 75 58 58
William Allen 54 54 54 54
Thomas F. Bayard 33 33 4 4
Joel Parker 18 18 0 18
James Broadhead 16 0 0 0
Allen G. Thurman 2 2 2 0

Source: Official proceedings of the National Democratic convention, held in St. Louis, Mo., June 27th, 28th and 29th, 1876. (September 3, 2012).

1st Presidential Ballot
Before Shifts
1st Presidential Ballot
After Shifts
2nd Presidential Ballot
Before Shifts
2nd Presidential Ballot
After Shifts

Vice presidential nomination

Vice presidential candidate

Tilden/Hendricks campaign poster

Thomas Hendricks was the only individual nominated for vice-president, and received the nomination almost unanimously on the first ballot. The delegation from Ohio had thought of offering the name of one of her distinguished sons, Henry B. Payne. However, the feeling of unanimity was so great that the Ohio delegation declined to present his name and seconded the nomination of Hendricks. But when the roll call vote took place, Ohio cast 8 blank ballots.

Vice Presidential Ballot
Thomas A. Hendricks 730
Blank 8

Source: Official proceedings of the National Democratic convention, held in St. Louis, Mo., June 27th, 28th and 29th, 1876. (September 3, 2012).

1st Vice Presidential Ballot

See also


  1. ^ William DeGregorio, The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Gramercy 1997
  2. ^ They Also Ran

External links

Preceded by
Baltimore, Maryland
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
Cincinnati, Ohio
1876 Republican National Convention

The 1876 Republican National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held at the Exposition Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 14–16, 1876. President Ulysses S. Grant considered seeking a third term, but with various scandals, a weak economy and Democratic gains in the House of Representatives leading many Republicans to repudiate him, he did not run. The convention resulted in the nomination of Governor Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio for President and Representative William A. Wheeler of New York for Vice President.

1876 United States elections

The 1876 United States elections were held on November 7. In one of the most disputed presidential elections in American history, Republican Governor Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio ended up winning despite Democratic Governor Samuel J. Tilden of New York earning a majority of the popular vote. The Republicans maintained their Senate majority and cut into the Democratic majority in the House.

1876 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1876 was the 23rd quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 7, 1876. It was one of the most contentious and controversial presidential elections in American history, and is known for being the catalyst for the end of Reconstruction. Republican nominee Rutherford B. Hayes faced Democrat Samuel Tilden. After a controversial post-election process, Hayes was declared the winner.

After President Ulysses S. Grant declined to seek a third term despite previously being expected to do so, Congressman James G. Blaine emerged as the front-runner for the Republican nomination. However, Blaine was unable to win a majority at the 1876 Republican National Convention, which settled on Governor Hayes of Ohio as a compromise candidate. The 1876 Democratic National Convention nominated Governor Tilden of New York on the second ballot.

The results of the election remain among the most disputed ever, although it is not disputed that Tilden outpolled Hayes in the popular vote. After a first count of votes, Tilden won 184 electoral votes to Hayes's 165, with 20 votes from four states unresolved. In the case of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina, each party reported its candidate had won the state, while in Oregon one elector was replaced after being declared illegal for being an "elected or appointed official". The question of who should have been awarded these electoral votes is the source of the continued controversy. An informal deal was struck to resolve the dispute: the Compromise of 1877, which awarded all 20 electoral votes to Hayes. In return for the Democrats' acquiescence to Hayes's election, the Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction. The Compromise effectively ceded power in the Southern states to the Democratic Redeemers, who proceeded to disenfranchise black voters in subsequent years.

The 1876 election is one of five presidential elections in which the person who won the most popular votes did not win the election, and the only such election in which the popular vote winner received a majority (rather than a plurality) of the popular vote. To date, it remains the election that recorded the smallest electoral vote victory (185–184) and the election that yielded the highest voter turnout of the eligible voting age population in American history, at 81.8%. It was also the first presidential election since 1856 in which the Democratic candidate won the popular vote.

Charles N. Ross

Charles Nelson Ross (December 25, 1842 — November 24, 1923) was an American banker and politician.

Christopher A. Walrath

Christopher A. Walrath (c. 1830 - 1897) was an American merchant and politician from New York.

Daniel B. St. John

Daniel Bennett St. John (October 8, 1808 – February 18, 1890) was a U.S. Representative from New York.

Frank Eckels Beltzhoover

Frank Eckels Beltzhoover (November 6, 1841 – June 2, 1923) was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.

Frank E. Beltzhoover was born in Silver Spring Township, Pennsylvania. He attended Big Spring Academy in Newville, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Pennsylvania College at Gettysburg in 1862, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1864 and commenced practice in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He served as chairman of the Democratic committee of Cumberland County in 1868 and 1873. He was district attorney from 1874 to 1877. He was a delegate to the 1876 Democratic National Convention.

Beltzhoover was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-sixth and Forty-seventh Congresses. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1882. He was again elected to the Fifty-second and Fifty-third Congresses. He served as chairman of the United States House Committee on War Claims during the Fifty-second and Fifty-third Congresses. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1894.

He resumed the practice of law in Carlisle until 1910, when he moved to Los Angeles, California. He lived in retirement until his death on in 1923. Interment in Ashland Cemetery in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Franklin Barlow Sexton

Franklin Barlow Sexton (April 29, 1828 – May 15, 1900) was a politician from Texas who served in the Confederate Congress during the American Civil War.

Sexton was born in New Harmony, Indiana, in rural Posey County, the only child of Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Sexton. In 1838, the family moved from Indiana and resettled in San Augustine, Texas. There, his father died when Franklin was 13 years old. Sexton briefly served as an apprentice to a local printer, and then enrolled in the local Methodist academy (Wesleyan College) and studied law. He was granted his license to practice law in 1848 by special legislative action. He established a legal practice in San Augustine and became active in local political circles. In 1852, he married Eliza Richardson, daughter of a prominent Sabine County landowner. The couple had 12 children. Sexton became a member of the Freemason movement, serving in 1856 as Grand Master.

In April 1860, Sexton was elected as president of the Texas State Democratic Convention. He presided over the convention, which passed resolutions regarding states rights and reaffirming the institution of slavery. The following year, with the outbreak of the Civil War and Texas's secession, Sexton briefly joined the Confederate States Army, but resigned after being elected to fill a vacancy in the State Senate. In 1862, he was elected to the First Confederate Congress as a representative from Texas's 4th District and left home in July to travel to Richmond, Virginia, to assume his duties, arriving in mid-August. He worked with the War Department to improve the conditions of the average soldier in the field. Sexton was reelected to a second term in 1863, serving until the fall of the Confederacy in the spring of 1865 and the dissolution of the Congress. He was one of only two Texans to be elected to both terms.

Returning to San Augustine after the war, Sexton resumed his legal practice and involvement with the Masons. In 1870, served as Grand Commander of the Knights Templar of Texas. He moved his family to Marshall, Texas, in 1872 and established a profitable practice there representing the railroad. When the state authorized construction of a new Capitol building in Austin, Sexton was selected to deliver an address at the ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone. He was a delegate to the 1876 Democratic National Convention in St. Louis, where he made an impassioned speech supporting Samuel J. Tilden. After his wife died, Sexton moved in with one of his daughters at El Paso. He was appointed a judge on the state Supreme Court and later served as a United States commissioner.

Sexton died in El Paso and was buried in Marshall, Texas.

In 1923, Sexton's diary recording his first two years in the Confederate Congress was discovered, providing a rare glimpse into the inner workings of that body.

Frederick Cook (politician)

Frederick Cook (December 2, 1833 in Bad Wildbad, Kingdom of Württemberg – February 17, 1905 in Rochester, Monroe County, New York) was an American businessman and politician.

Frederick Smyth (New York)

Frederick Smyth (1832 Galway, Ireland – August 18, 1900 Atlantic City, New Jersey) was an American lawyer and politician from New York.

James Mackin

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John C. Clarke

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John C. Jacobs

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Lucius Robinson

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Merchants Exchange Building (St. Louis)

The Merchants Exchange Building was a building at Third Street at Chestnut and Pine in St. Louis, Missouri from 1875 to 1958 that housed the St. Louis Merchants Exchange and hosted the 1876 Democratic National Convention.

The building was designed by Francis Lee and Thomas Annan who placed second in a competition for the structure (the winner was George I. Ingraham but his work was considered too expensive.

The building was the second Merchants Exchange on the location. The first building was built in 1857. During the American Civil War members of the exchange split along North-South lines. The Exchange merged back together after the war.

The $2 million venue measured 235 by 187 ft (72 by 57 m) by 187 feet (57 m) and was actually two separate buildings.

The second and third floors of the western half of the building had an iron truss system that supported the roof and created the largest open indoor space in the United States at the time of its construction (235 feet long and 98 feet (30 m) wide and 65 feet (20 m) tall) and thus was chosen for the 1876 convention which was the first Democratic or Republican national convention west of the Mississippi River.

At the same time of its construction the Merchants Exchange built the Eads Bridge across the Mississippi River.The building was torn down in 1958. Part of the Adam's Mark Hotel was built in its location. In 2008 the Adams Mark announced plans to become a Grand Hyatt.

The Merchants Exchange founded in 1836 was the first commodity trading exchange in the United States—predating the Chicago Board of Trade. In its early years it was referred to as the Chamber of Commerce. Articles about the 1876 Convention referred to it as the Chamber of Commerce. After vacating its downtown location, it was evicted in 1995 from its new location by eminent domain when St. Louis expanded the St. Louis Science Center. The Exchange made a last gasp in 2000/2001 to conduct computerized trading of future trading of freight on the Mississippi River. It has quietly ceased operation.

Samuel J. Tilden

Samuel Jones Tilden (February 9, 1814 – August 4, 1886) was the 25th Governor of New York and the Democratic candidate for president in the disputed election of 1876. He was the only individual to win an outright majority of the popular vote in a United States presidential election but lose the election itself, though four other candidates have lost a presidential election despite garnering a plurality of the popular vote.

Tilden was born into a wealthy family in New Lebanon, New York. Attracted to politics at a young age, he became a protégé of Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United States. After studying at Yale University and New York University School of Law, Tilden began a legal career in New York City, becoming a noted corporate lawyer. He served in the New York State Assembly and helped launch Van Buren's third party, anti-slavery candidacy in the 1848 presidential election. Though he opposed the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, Tilden supported the Union during the American Civil War. After the Civil War, Tilden was selected as the chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee, and he managed Democratic nominee Horatio Seymour's campaign in the 1868 presidential election.

Tilden initially cooperated with the state party's Tammany Hall faction, but he broke with them in 1871 due to boss William M. Tweed's rampant corruption. Tilden won election as Governor of New York in 1874, and in that office he helped break up the "Canal Ring." Tilden's battle against public corruption, along with his personal fortune and electoral success in the country's most populous state, made him a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 1876. Tilden was selected as the Democratic Party's nominee on the second ballot of the 1876 Democratic National Convention. In the general election, Tilden faced Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes, another governor with reform credentials. Tilden focused his campaign on civil service reform, support for the gold standard, and opposition to high taxes, but many of his supporters were more concerned with ending Reconstruction in the South.

Most observers initially believed that Tilden had won the election, but disputes in four states left both Tilden and Hayes without a majority of the electoral vote. As Tilden had won 184 electoral votes, one vote shy of a majority, a Hayes victory required that he sweep all of the disputed electoral votes. Against Tilden's wishes, Congress appointed the bipartisan Electoral Commission to settle the controversy. Republicans had a one-seat advantage on the Electoral Commission, and in a series of party-line rulings, ruled that Hayes had won all of the disputed electoral votes. In the Compromise of 1877, Democratic leaders agreed to accept Hayes as the victor in return for the end of Reconstruction. Tilden was a major contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1880 and 1884 presidential elections, but declined to run.

Samuel Tilden 1876 presidential campaign

The 1876 U.S. presidential election occurred at the twilight of Reconstruction and was between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel J. Tilden. After an extremely heated election dispute, a compromise was eventually reached where Hayes would become U.S. President in exchange for the end of Reconstruction and a withdrawal of U.S. federal troops from the South.

William B. Dunlap

William Boyd Dunlap was a former Democratic member of the Pennsylvania State Senate.He worked as a riverboat captain. He was a delegate to the 1876 Democratic National Convention. He represented the 46th senatorial district in the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1891 to 1894.William B. Dunlap Mansion, his home in Bridgewater, Pennsylvania, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

William V. Marquis

William Vance Marquis (May 1, 1828 – December 17, 1899) was an American politician who served as the 22nd Lieutenant Governor of Ohio from 1890 to 1892 under Governor James E. Campbell.

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