Compromise of 1877

The Compromise of 1877 was an informal, unwritten deal, that settled the intensely disputed 1876 U.S. presidential election. It resulted in the United States federal government pulling the last troops out of the South, and formally ended the Reconstruction Era. Through the Compromise, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was awarded the White House over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden on the understanding that Hayes would remove the federal troops whose support was essential for the survival of Republican state governments in South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. The compromise involved Democrats who controlled the House of Representatives allowing the decision of the Electoral Commission to take effect. The outgoing president, Republican Ulysses S. Grant, removed the soldiers from Florida. As president, Hayes removed the remaining troops from South Carolina and Louisiana. As soon as the troops left, many white Republicans also left, and the "Redeemer" Democrats took control. They already dominated other state governments in the South. What was exactly agreed is somewhat contested as the documentation is insufficient.[1]

Black Republicans felt betrayed as they lost power and were subject to discrimination and harassment to suppress their voting. By 1905, most black men were effectively disenfranchised by state legislatures in every Southern state.[2]

A political cartoon by Joseph Keppler depicts Roscoe Conkling as a character Mephistopheles (the Devil) while Rutherford B. Hayes strolls off with the prize of the "Solid South" depicted as a woman. The caption quotes Goethe: "Unto that Power he doth belong Which only doeth Right while ever willing Wrong."

Terms of compromise

The compromise essentially stated that Southern Democrats would acknowledge Hayes as president, but only on the understanding that Republicans would meet certain demands. The following elements are generally said to be the points of the compromise:[3]

  1. The removal of all U.S. military forces from the former Confederate states. At the time, U.S. troops remained in only Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida, but the Compromise completed their withdrawal from the region.
  2. The appointment of at least one Southern Democrat to Hayes' cabinet. (David M. Key of Tennessee was appointed as Postmaster General.)
  3. The construction of another transcontinental railroad using the Texas and Pacific in the South (this had been part of the "Scott Plan", proposed by Thomas A. Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad; he had initiated negotiations resulting in the final compromise).
  4. Legislation to help industrialize the South and restore its economy following Reconstruction and the Civil War.
  5. The right to deal with blacks without northern interference.

In exchange, Democrats would accept the Republican Hayes as president by not employing the filibuster during the joint session of Congress needed to confirm the election.[4][5]


After the Compromise, a few Democrats complained loudly that Tilden had been cheated. There was talk of forming armed units that would march on Washington, but President Grant was ready for that. He tightened military security, and nobody marched on Washington.[6]

Hayes was peacefully inaugurated. Points 1 and 2 of the compromise took effect. Hayes had already announced his support for the restoration of "home rule", which would involve federal troop removal, before the election. It was not unusual, nor unexpected, for a president, especially one so narrowly elected, to select a cabinet member favored by the other party. Points 3 and 4 were never enacted; it is possible there was no firm agreement about them.

Whether by informal deal or simply reassurances already in line with Hayes's announced plans, talks with Southern Democrats satisfied the worries of many. This prevented a Congressional filibuster that had threatened to extend resolution of the election dispute beyond Inauguration Day 1877.[7]


C. Vann Woodward (1951) argued for an economic interpretation, saying that emerging business and industry interests of the New South found common ground with Republican businessmen, particularly with the railroads. They met secretly at Wormley's Hotel in Washington to forge a compromise with aid to internal improvements: bridges, canals and railroads wanted by the South. However, Peskin notes that no serious federal effort was made after Hayes took office to fund a railroad or provide other federal aid for improvements.[8] An opposing interest group representing the Southern Pacific actually thwarted Scott's proposed Texas and Pacific scheme, and ultimately ran its own line to New Orleans.

Some historians, such as Allan Peskin, argue that the assurances offered to some Southern Democrats to prevent a filibuster were not a compromise but a foregone conclusion, as Tilden did not command sufficient support.[8] Peskin admits that Woodward's interpretation had become almost universally accepted in the nearly quarter century since he had published it. As not all terms of the agreement were met, Peskin believes there was really no deal between the North and South in 1877. He also suggests that Northern Democrats were more significant in quashing the filibuster than those from the South. For instance, Samuel J. Randall (D-Pennsylvania) was Speaker of the House and prevented the filibuster. He was more interested in ensuring that the Radical state government in Louisiana was abandoned than in any southern railroad.[8]

Vincent DeSantis argues that the Republican Party abandoned Southern blacks to the rule of the racist Democratic Party in order to gain the support of Democrats for Hayes' presidency.[9]

In any case, Reconstruction ended. The dominance of the Democratic Party in the South was cemented with the ascent of the "Redeemer" governments that displaced the Republican governments. After 1877, support for white supremacy generally caused whites to vote for Democrats and the region became known as the "Solid South". Until the end of the 19th century, black Republicans continued to elect numerous candidates to local office, although Democrats controlled most state representative and statewide seats, except for a brief period of fusion governments supported by Republicans and Populists. The majority of white voters supported national Democratic candidates well into the 20th century before shifting to the Republican Party. This later shift to the Republican party followed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which was introduced by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson and supported by most Republicans and northern Democrats. Democratic groups worked to suppress black voting by intimidation and fraud but, after regaining power again at the turn of the 20th century, passed constitutions and laws to disenfranchise blacks (as well as many poor whites) in states such as Alabama and others. As there was no change in congressional apportionment, southern whites accrued great power by controlling all the seats of the region based on states' total populations.

In The Mexicanization of American Politics: The United States' Transnational Path from Civil War to Stabilization (2012), Downs rejects the idea that this was an era of easy reconciliation and political stability. Instead he shows many Americans feared "Mexicanization" of politics, whereby force would be used to settle a presidential election, as force had been used to settle certain state elections in the South. Downs explores how Mexicanization was roundly rejected and stability was achieved.

Whatever deals may or may not have taken place on the side, in formal legal terms, the election of 1876 was not decided by such acts, but by the official vote of Congress to accept the recommendations of the Electoral Commission they themselves had set up as a way out of the election impasse. The expectation in setting up the committee had been that its decisions would be accepted by Congress. It was only when certain Democrats disagreed with the commission's decisions in favor of Hayes that this arrangement was jeopardized. This Democratic group threatened a filibuster (opposed by Republicans and Congressional Democratic leadership as well) that would prevent the agreed-upon vote from taking place. Discussions of the points in the alleged compromise were related to persuading key Democrats against accepting a filibuster. The very threat of a filibuster—a measure used by a minority to prevent a vote—indicates that there were already sufficient votes for accepting the commission's recommendations.[10]


  1. ^ Michael Les Benedict, "Southern Democrats in the Crisis of 1876-1877: A Reconsideration of Reunion and Reaction." Journal of Southern History (1980): 489-524. in JSTOR
  2. ^ Jones, Stephen A.; Freedman, Eric (2011). Presidents and Black America. CQ Press. p. 218. ISBN 9781608710089. In an eleventh-hour compromise between party leaders - considered the "Great Betrayal" by many blacks and southern Republicans ...
  3. ^ Woodward, C. Vann (1966). Reunion and Reaction: The Compromise of 1877 and the End of Reconstruction. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. pp. 169–171.
  4. ^ Donald Richard Deskins; Hanes Walton; Sherman C. Puckett (2010). Presidential Elections, 1789-2008: County, State, and National Mapping of Election Data. U of Michigan Press. p. 211.
  5. ^ C. Vann Woodward (1991). Reunion and Reaction: The Compromise of 1877 and the End of Reconstruction. Oxford UP. pp. 200–2`.
  6. ^ Downs, 2012
  7. ^ C. Vann Woodward (1991). Reunion and Reaction: The Compromise of 1877 and the End of Reconstruction. Oxford UP. pp. 200–2`.
  8. ^ a b c Allan Peskin, "Was There a Compromise of 1877?", The Journal of American History Vol. 60, No. 1 (June 1973), pp. 63–75, via JSTOR
  9. ^ Vincent P. DeSantis, "Rutherford B. Hayes and the Removal of the Troops and the End of Reconstruction", in J. Morgan Kousser and James M. McPherson, eds., Region, Race, and Reconstruction: Essays in Honor of C. Van Woodward (New York, 1982), 417–450
  10. ^ Michael Les Benedict, "Southern Democrats in the Crisis of 1876–1877: A Reconsideration of Reunion and Reaction". Journal of Southern History (1980): 489–524.

Further reading

  • Benedict, Michael Les. "Southern Democrats in the Crisis of 1876-1877: A Reconsideration of Reunion and Reaction." Journal of Southern History (1980): 489-524. in JSTOR
  • Clendenen, Clarence C. (October 1969). "President Hayes' "Withdrawal" of the Troops: An Enduring Myth". The South Carolina Historical Magazine. 70 (4): 240–250.
  • DeSantis, Vincent P. "Rutherford B. Hayes and the Removal of the Troops and the End of Reconstruction" in Region, Race and Reconstruction edited by Morgan Kousser and James McPherson. (Oxford University Press, 1982) pp. 417–50.
  • Downs, Gregory P. (2012). "The Mexicanization of American Politics: The United States' Transnational Path from Civil War to Stabilization". The American Historical Review. 117 (2): 387–409. doi:10.1086/ahr.117.2.387.
  • Frantz, Edward O. The Door of Hope: Republican Presidents and the First Southern Strategy, 1877–1933 (University Press of Florida. 2011)
  • Peskin, Allan (1973). "Was There a Compromise of 1877". The Journal of American History. 60 (1): 63–75. doi:10.2307/2936329. ISSN 1936-0967. JSTOR 2936329 – via JSTOR. (Registration required (help)).
  • Polakoff, Keith Ian. The Politics of Inertia: The Election of 1876 and the End of Reconstruction (1973)
  • Riddleberger, Patrick W. (1960). "The Radicals' Abandonment of the Negro During Reconstruction". The Journal of Negro History. 45 (2): 88–102. doi:10.2307/2716572. JSTOR 2716572 – via JSTOR.
  • Simpson, Brooks D. "Ulysses S. Grant and the Electoral Crisis of 1876-1877," Hayes Historical Journal (1992) 11#2 pp 5–22.
  • Woodward, C. Vann (1951). Reunion and Reaction: The Compromise of 1877 and the End of Reconstruction. Oxford University Press.

External links

1876 Louisiana gubernatorial election

The Louisiana gubernatorial election, 1876, was the third and final election to take place under the Louisiana Constitution of 1868. As a result of this election Francis T. Nicholls became Governor of Louisiana, but not before the election was contested by his opponent. The results of this election, like those of 1872 were disputed. The dispute was resolved by the Compromise of 1877 which gave the Governor's Mansion to Democrat Francis T. Nicholls. The Compromise also gave Republican presidential candidate Rutherford B. Hayes the electoral votes of several disputed states, including Louisiana, which resulted in his election to the White House. The election of Nicholls marked the end of Reconstruction in Louisiana and the decline of the Republican Party of Louisiana.

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.

1876 United States presidential election in Florida

The 1876 United States presidential election in Florida took place on November 7, 1876, as part of the 1876 United States presidential election. Florida voters chose four representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.Florida was won by Rutherford B. Hayes, the governor of Ohio (R-Ohio), running with Representative William A. Wheeler, with 50.99% of the vote, against Samuel J. Tilden, the former governor of New York (D–New York), running with Thomas A. Hendricks, the governor of Indiana and future vice president, with 49.01% of the popular vote.Florida, along with South Carolina and Louisiana, was one of the states affected by the Compromise of 1877 where they gave their electoral votes to Hayes by using fraud to change the outcomes of the elections.

This would be the final time a Republican presidential candidate would carry Florida until 1928.

1878 United States elections

The 1878 United States elections occurred in the middle of Republican President Rutherford B. Hayes's term, during the Third Party System. It was the first election following the end of the Reconstruction Era, and Redeemers had gained back control of most Southern governments following the Compromise of 1877. Members of the 46th United States Congress were chosen in this election. Democrats won control of the Senate for the first time since the start of the Civil War. Democrats lost a majority in the House, but retained a plurality and control of the chamber.

In the House, Democrats and Republicans both lost seats to the Greenback Party and a group of independent Democrats, with the Democrats retaining only a plurality. Democrat Samuel J. Randall won re-election as Speaker of the House.

In the Senate, Democrats picked up several seats, taking control of the chamber.

African Americans in the United States Congress

The first African Americans to serve in the United States Congress were Republicans elected during the Reconstruction Era. After slaves were emancipated and granted citizenship rights, freedmen gained political representation in the Southern United States for the first time. White Democrats regained political power in state legislatures across the South and worked to restore white supremacy. By the presidential election of 1876, only three state legislatures were not controlled by white Democrats. The Compromise of 1877 completed the period of Redemption by white Democratic Southerners, with the withdrawal of federal troops from the South. State legislatures began to pass Jim Crow laws to establish racial segregation and restrict labor rights, movement and organizing by blacks. They passed some laws to restrict voter registration, aimed at suppressing the black vote.

From 1890-1908, Democratic state legislatures in the South essentially disfranchised most blacks and many poor whites from voting by passing new constitutions or amendments, or other laws related to more restrictive electoral and voter registration and electoral rules. The Democratic Party essentially dominated the "Solid South" until the 1990s. As a result of the Civil Rights Movement, the U.S. Congress passed laws in the mid-1960s to end segregation and enforce constitutional civil rights and voting rights.

During two waves of massive migration within the United States in the first half of the 20th century, more than 6 million African Americans moved from the South to Northeastern, Midwestern and Western industrial cities, with 5 million migrating from 1940 to 1970. Some were elected to national political office from their new locations. During the Great Depression, many black voters switched allegiances from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party, in support of the New Deal economic, social network, and work policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration. This trend continued in the 1960s when the national Democratic Party supported the civil rights legislation to enforce constitutional rights. At the same time, there was a different movement among whites in the South, who began to vote for Republican candidates for national and then state offices.

A total of 153 African Americans have served in the United States Congress, mostly in the United States House of Representatives. This includes six non-voting members of the House of Representatives who have represented the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition, John Willis Menard was elected to the House of Representatives in 1868, and P. B. S. Pinchback was elected both to the House of Representatives and the Senate in 1872, but neither was seated due to election disputes.

Ten African Americans have served in the U.S. Senate, four in the Republican Party. Two African Americans served as Senators from Mississippi during the Reconstruction Era and one from Massachusetts during the 1960s and 1970s. The remaining seven served more recently: six Democrats, three from Illinois (including Barack Obama) and one each from Massachusetts, New Jersey and California; and one Republican from South Carolina.

Bibliography of the Reconstruction Era

This is a selected bibliography of the main scholarly books and articles of Reconstruction, the period after the American Civil War, 1863–1877 (or 1865 to 1877).

C. Vann Woodward

Comer Vann Woodward (November 13, 1908 – December 17, 1999) was a Pulitzer-prize winning American historian focusing primarily on the American South and race relations. He was long a supporter of the approach of Charles A. Beard, stressing the influence of unseen economic motivations in politics. Stylistically, he was a master of irony and counterpoint. Woodward was on the left end of the history profession in the 1930s. By the 1950s he was a leading liberal and supporter of civil rights. His demonstration that racial segregation was a late 19th century invention rather than some sort of eternal standard made his The Strange Career of Jim Crow into "the historical Bible of the civil rights movement", said Martin Luther King Jr. After attacks on him by the New Left in the late 1960s, he moved to the right politically.

Confederate Revolving Cannon

The Confederate Revolving Cannon was a weapon developed and used during the U.S. Civil War. The weapon had a design similar to that of a revolver pistol, scaled up to the size of a cannon.

John W. Johnston

John Warfield Johnston (September 9, 1818 – February 27, 1889) was an American lawyer and politician from Abingdon, Virginia. He served in the Virginia State Senate, and represented Virginia in the United States Senate when the state was readmitted after the American Civil War. He was a United States Senator for 13 years. In national politics, he was a Democrat.

Johnston had been ineligible to serve in Congress because of the Fourteenth Amendment, which forbade anyone who had sworn allegiance to the United States and subsequently sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War from holding public office. However, his restrictions were removed at the suggestion of the Freedmen's Bureau when he aided a sick and dying former slave after the War. He was the first person who had sided with the Confederacy to serve in the United States Senate.Several issues marked Johnston's senatorial career. He was caught in the middle during the debate over the Arlington Memorial. The initial proposal to relocate the dead was distasteful to Johnston, yet the ensuing debate caused him to want to defend the memory of Robert E. Lee; the need to stay quiet for the sake of the Democratic Party, however, proved decisive. Johnston was an outspoken opponent of the Texas-Pacific Bill, a sectional struggle for control of railroads in the South, which figured in the Compromise of 1877. He was also an outspoken Funder during Virginia's heated debate as to how much of its pre-War debt the state ought to have been obliged to pay back. The controversy culminated in the formation of the Readjuster Party and the appointment of William Mahone as its leader; this marked the end of Johnston's career in the Senate.

Louisiana in the American Civil War

Antebellum Louisiana was a slave state, where enslaved African Americans had comprised the majority of the population during the eighteenth century French and Spanish colonial period. By the time the United States acquired the territory (1803) and Louisiana became a state (1812), the institution of slavery was entrenched. By 1860, 47% of the state's population were enslaved, though the state also had one of the largest free black populations in the United States. Much of the white population, particularly in the cities, supported southern states' rights and slavery, while pockets of support for the U.S. and its government existed in the more rural areas.

Louisiana declared that it had seceded from the Union on January 26, 1861. New Orleans, the largest city in the South, was strategically important as a port city due to its southernmost location on the Mississippi River and its access to the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. War Department early on planned for its capture. The city was taken by U.S. Army forces on April 25, 1862. Because a large part of the population had Union sympathies (or compatible commercial interests), the U.S. government took the unusual step of designating the areas of Louisiana then under U.S. control as a state within the Union, with its own elected representatives to the U.S. Congress. For the latter part of the war, both the U.S. and the Confederacy recognized their own distinct Louisiana governors.


In United States history, the Redeemers were a political coalition in the Southern United States during the Reconstruction Era that followed the Civil War. Redeemers were the southern wing of the Bourbon Democrats, the conservative, pro-business faction in the Democratic Party. They sought to regain their political power and enforce white supremacy. Their policy of Redemption was intended to oust the Radical Republicans, a coalition of freedmen, "carpetbaggers", and "scalawags". They generally were led by the rich former planters, businessmen and professionals, and they dominated Southern politics in most areas from the 1870s to 1910.

During Reconstruction, the South was under occupation by federal forces, and Southern state governments were dominated by Republicans, elected largely by freedmen and allies. Republicans nationally pressed for the granting of political rights to the newly freed slaves as the key to their becoming full citizens. The Thirteenth Amendment (banning slavery), Fourteenth Amendment (guaranteeing the civil rights of former slaves and ensuring equal protection of the laws), and Fifteenth Amendment (prohibiting the denial of the right to vote on grounds of race, color, or previous condition of servitude), enshrined such political rights in the Constitution.

Numerous educated blacks and free people of color moved to the South to work for Reconstruction. Some were elected to office in the southern states, or appointed to certain positions. and The Reconstruction governments were unpopular with many white Southerners, who were not willing to accept defeat and continued to try to prevent black political activity by any means. While the elite planter class often supported insurgencies, violence against freedmen and other Republicans was usually carried out by other whites; the secret Ku Klux Klan chapters developed in the first years after the war as one form of insurgency.

In the 1870s, paramilitary organizations such as the White League in Louisiana and Red Shirts in Mississippi and North Carolina undermined the Republicans, disrupting meetings and political gatherings. These paramilitary bands also used violence and threats to undermine the Republican vote. By the presidential election of 1876, only three Southern states – Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida – were "unredeemed", or not yet taken over by white Democrats. The disputed Presidential election between Rutherford B. Hayes (the Republican governor of Ohio) and Samuel J. Tilden (the Democratic governor of New York) was allegedly resolved by the Compromise of 1877, also known as the Corrupt Bargain or the Bargain of 1877. In this compromise, it was claimed, Hayes became president in exchange for numerous favors to the South, one of which was the removal of Federal troops from the remaining "unredeemed" Southern states; this was however a policy Hayes had endorsed during his campaign. With the removal of these forces, Reconstruction came to an end.

Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford Birchard Hayes (October 4, 1822 – January 17, 1893) was the 19th president of the United States from 1877 to 1881, having served also as an American representative and governor of Ohio. Hayes was a lawyer and staunch abolitionist who defended refugee slaves in court proceedings in the antebellum years. During the American Civil War, he was seriously wounded fighting in the Union Army.

He was nominated as the Republican candidate for the presidency in 1876 and elected through the Compromise of 1877 that officially ended the Reconstruction Era by leaving the South to govern itself. In office he withdrew military troops from the South, ending Army support for Republican state governments in the South and the efforts of African-American freedmen to establish their families as free citizens. He promoted civil service reform, and attempted to reconcile the divisions left over from the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Hayes, an attorney in Ohio, served as city solicitor of Cincinnati from 1858 to 1861. When the Civil War began, he left a fledgling political career to join the Union Army as an officer. Hayes was wounded five times, most seriously at the Battle of South Mountain. He earned a reputation for bravery in combat and was promoted to the rank of brevet major general. After the war, he served in the Congress from 1865 to 1867 as a Republican. Hayes left Congress to run for governor of Ohio and was elected to two consecutive terms, from 1868 to 1872. Later he served a third two-year term, from 1876 to 1877.

In 1876, Hayes was elected president in one of the most contentious elections in national history. He lost the popular vote to Democrat Samuel J. Tilden but he won an intensely disputed electoral college vote after a Congressional commission awarded him twenty contested electoral votes. The result was the Compromise of 1877, in which the Democrats acquiesced to Hayes's election on the condition that he withdraw remaining U.S. troops protecting Republican office holders in the South, thus officially ending the Reconstruction era.

Hayes believed in meritocratic government and equal treatment without regard to race. He ordered federal troops to guard federal buildings and in so doing restore order from the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. He implemented modest civil service reforms that laid the groundwork for further reform in the 1880s and 1890s. He vetoed the Bland–Allison Act, which would have put silver money into circulation and raised nominal prices, insisting that maintenance of the gold standard was essential to economic recovery. His policy toward Western Indians anticipated the assimilationist program of the Dawes Act of 1887.

Hayes kept his pledge not to run for re-election, retired to his home in Ohio, and became an advocate of social and educational reform. Biographer Ari Hoogenboom said his greatest achievement was to restore popular faith in the presidency and to reverse the deterioration of executive power that had set in after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Although supporters have praised his commitment to civil service reform and defense of civil rights, Hayes is generally ranked as average or slightly below average by historians and scholars.

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.

Stephen B. Packard

Stephen Bennett Packard (April 25, 1839 – January 31, 1922), a native of Maine, emerged as an important Republican politician in Louisiana during the era of Reconstruction. He was the unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial nominee in 1876.

A captain in the Union Army during the American Civil War, Packard was appointed United States marshal in New Orleans in 1871 during the administration of U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. He emerged as a leader of what was called the "Customhouse Ring", a faction of the Republican Party opposed to Governor Henry Clay Warmoth. By 1872 Warmoth had allied with anti-Grant Republicans and some Democrats, supporting election of Democratic candidate John McEnery.

In 1872, Packard directed the successful gubernatorial campaign of Republican William Pitt Kellogg. Packard supported the impeachment of outgoing Governor Warmoth. A Returning Board appointed by Warmoth certified McEnery as victor, but the Republicans, outraged by election violence and fraud, appointed their own Returning Board. Both parties claimed victory. The legislature impeached Warmoth as governor, on charges of having sold the election. Packard obtained federal recognition of the African American P.B.S. Pinchback as acting governor for the thirty-five days left in Warmoth's term. Kellogg was ultimately recognized by President Grant as the legitimate authority in charge, but violence related to the election resulted in 80-150 deaths of blacks in the Colfax Massacre of 1873, and the paramilitary White League takeover of the state buildings in New Orleans in September 1874, at the cost of nearly 100 casualties among city police and militia. Federal troops restored order for a time, but in January 1875 the Democrats started meeting separately as a legislature at the Odd Fellows Hall.

In 1876 Packard was the Republican candidate for governor. In another disputed election, both Packard and his Democratic opponent, Francis T. Nicholls, held separate inaugurations. Every election since 1868 had had increasing levels of political violence.

The paramilitary White League, effectively an arm of the Democratic Party, had conducted open campaigns of intimidation and physical attacks, to keep freedmen and other Republicans away from the polls. Nicholls had led in the balloting by some 8,000 votes, but the Republican-controlled State Returning Board cited fraud and declared Packard the victor. Pinchback refused to support Packard and endorsed Nicholls. President Grant did not recognize Republicans in Louisiana or South Carolina, which also had disputed elections.On January 9, 1877, federal troops were withdrawn from New Orleans, as Grant gave up on the state, leaving it to its own devices. The New York Times reported in an article dated February 16, 1877, the headline "The Democratic Assassin. Gov. Packard's Attempted Murder." At that time in New York, Packard was still perceived to be Governor of Louisiana. The article describes the assassin William H. Weldon being wounded in the attempt against Packard.

After the contested election of 1876, the Democratic-backed legislature, allied with Democratic Governor Francis T. Nicholls, selected Henry M. Spofford as United States Senator (this was before the popular election of senators). The Republican-dominated legislature, allied with Republican Governor Packard, had separately selected William Pitt Kellogg as senator. The United States Senate, then dominated by the so-called Radical faction of the Republican party, refused to seat Spofford.

In the Compromise of 1877, the incoming Republican President Rutherford B. Hayes recognized Nicholls as the legitimate Louisiana governor. In exchange, the Louisiana electoral votes were cast for the Hayes-William Wheeler ticket. Similarly, Hayes had recognized the "Redeemer" Democrat, Wade Hampton, III, a Confederate general, as governor of South Carolina, rather than the incumbent Republican Daniel H. Chamberlain. As a result of the national compromise, the US government removed remaining federal troops from Louisiana and South Carolina, despite the patterns of violence and assassinations related to elections.

Packard was appointed as United States consul at Liverpool, as "compensation for surrendering his claim to the governorship." When he returned to the United States in 1885, Packard purchased 1,100 acres of land near Marshalltown, Iowa. He developed it for livestock breeding and worked at that for the next twenty-five years, being recognized for his success in that field.After more years of election violence, in the late 19th century, the Democrat-dominated Louisiana legislature passed Jim Crow laws and ultimately a new constitution, which effectively disfranchised blacks in the state, a situation that was maintained into the 1960s, excluding blacks from the political process, juries, and local offices. It was a one-party state controlled by Democrats. Packard's was the last strong Republican campaign for governor of Louisiana until 1964.

That year Charlton H. Lyons, Sr., a former Democrat, launched a campaign to rejuvenate the long-moribund GOP in Louisiana, in part in reaction to federal civil rights legislation passed that year by the national Democratic Party. In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, authorizing the federal government to enforce constitutional rights to vote, and blacks began to register and vote in high numbers throughout the South, often allying with the Democratic Party.

Stephen B. Packard is interred beside the remains of his son, Stephen B. Packard, Jr., at the Washelli Columbarium at Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park in Seattle, Washington.

Thomas A. Scott

Thomas Alexander Scott (December 28, 1823 – May 21, 1881) was an American businessman, railroad executive, and industrialist. President Abraham Lincoln in 1861 appointed him the U.S. Assistant Secretary of War, and during the American Civil War railroads under his leadership played a major role in the war effort. He became the fourth president of the Pennsylvania Railroad (1874-1880), which became the largest publicly traded corporation in the world and received much criticism for his conduct in the Great Railway Strike of 1877 and as a "robber baron." Scott helped negotiate the Republican Party's Compromise of 1877 with the Democratic Party; it settled the disputed presidential election of 1876 in favor of Rutherford B. Hayes in exchange for the federal government pulling out its military forces from the South and ending the Reconstruction era. In his final years, Scott made large donations to the University of Pennsylvania.

Whiskey Ring

In the United States, the Whiskey Ring was a scandal, exposed in 1875. The Whiskey Ring began in St. Louis, Missouri but was also organized in Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio; New Orleans, Louisiana and Peoria, Illinois. The Whiskey Ring involved diversion of tax revenues in a conspiracy among government agents, politicians, whiskey distillers, and distributors. The scheme involved an extensive network of bribes involving distillers, rectifiers, gaugers, storekeepers, and internal revenue agents. Essentially, distillers bribed government officials, and those officials helped the distillers evade federal taxes on the whiskey they produced and sold. Whiskey was supposed to be taxed at 70 cents per gallon, however distillers would instead pay the officials 35 cents per gallon and the illicit whiskey was stamped as having the tax paid. Before they were caught, a group of politicians were able to siphon off millions of dollars in federal taxes.

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Benjamin Bristow, working without the knowledge of the President or the Attorney General, broke the tightly connected and politically powerful ring in 1875 using secret agents from outside the Treasury department to conduct a series of raids across the country on May 10, 1875. The trials began at Jefferson City, Missouri in October 1875. Ultimately, 110 convictions were made and over $3 million in taxes were recovered. President Ulysses S. Grant appointed General John Brooks Henderson (a former U.S. Senator from Missouri) to serve as special prosecutor in charge of the indictments and trials, but Grant eventually fired Gen. Henderson for challenging Grant's interference in the prosecutions. Grant replaced Henderson with attorney James Broadhead.

The Whiskey Ring was seen by many as a sign of corruption under the Republican governments that took power across the nation following the American Civil War. General Orville E. Babcock, the private secretary to the President, was indicted as a member of the ring — for this reason, President Ulysses S. Grant, although not directly involved in the ring, came to be seen as emblematic of Republican corruption, and later scandals involving his Secretary of War William W. Belknap only confirmed that perception. The Whiskey Ring along with other alleged abuses of power by the Republican party, contributed to national weariness of Reconstruction, which ended Grant's presidency with the Compromise of 1877.

Wormley's Hotel

Wormley's Hotel was a five-story hotel at 1500 H Street, NW, Washington D.C. The hotel was owned by James Wormley, a free-born black man who had spent time in Europe learning fine culinary skills. The hotel was the site of the Wormley Agreement, which led to the Compromise of 1877 and the election of President Rutherford B. Hayes. The hotel was later demolished and the Union Trust Company built on its site in 1906.

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