FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DISPUTED ELECTION OF 1876
What was the popular vote count?
Tilden (Democrat) 4,288,546
Hayes (Republican) 4,034,311
What was the final electoral vote count?
Tilden (Democrat) 184
Hayes (Republican) 185*
*185 electoral votes were necessary for victory
What was the initial electoral count?
Disputed 20 Florida (4), Louisiana (8), Oregon*(1), South Carolina (7)
Why is Oregon included in the controversy?
What was the unofficial vote result in the three southern states in dispute?
Florida Tilden 24,434 / Hayes 24,340
Louisiana Tilden 83,723 / Hayes 77,174
South Carolina Tilden 90,896 / Hayes 91,870
What was the dispute?
What were the powers of the returning boards?
What was the basis for disallowing certain ballots in these states?
- "Repeaters" were used to stuff the ballot boxes.
- Fraudulent ballots were printed in order to trick illiterate blacks into voting for Democratic candidates.
- Ballot boxes were held back in some areas so that more votes could be added later.
- There was evidence that Blacks were intimidated away from the polling places keeping the Republican vote count low.
Why would Blacks vote for a Republican candidate over a Democrat in 1876?
Did Republicans also perpetrate frauds during and after the election?
What did returning boards of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina decide?
All three boards certified the Republican electors.
Why wasn't Hayes declared the winner when the disputed electoral votes were awarded to the Republican slate?
The electoral votes still had to be certified by the President of the Senate. During the certification process electors from both the Republican and Democratic parties claimed to represent Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina (the Oregon elector was also a complication). The certification process stopped pending resolution of the disputed electors.
Why didn't the President of the Senate decide which were the legitimate electors?
The Vice-president is the President of the Senate, however Henry Wilson died in 1875. Senator Thomas Ferry, a Republican from Michigan, took his place as President of the Senate, however he was not the Vice-president. Ferry chose not to make this difficult decision on his own, citing lack of direction from the Constitution.
Which party controlled the U.S. Congress in 1876?
What roles did Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden play during the maneuvering?
How was the electoral dispute resolved?
In December 1876 the House and Senate passed resolutions creating a fifteen man Electoral Commission charged with resolving the electoral crisis. The Electoral Commission was comprised of five senators, five house members, and five Supreme Court justices.
What was the political make-up of the Electoral Commission?
Eight Republicans and seven Democrats served on the panel.
How did the Electoral Commission proceed?
February 9, Florida to Hayes 8 to 7
February 16, Louisiana to Hayes 8 to 7
February 23, Oregon to Hayes 8 to 7
February 27, South Carolina to Hayes 8 to 7
What were the certified vote counts for the three disputed states?
Florida Tilden 22,927 Hayes 23,894
Louisiana Tilden 70,508 Hayes 75,313
South Carolina Tilden 90,896 Hayes 91,870
Did the Electoral Commission's decisions concluding on February 27 make Rutherford Hayes President?
When was Rutherford B. Hayes sworn in as the Nineteenth President?
Inaugurations took place on March 4 in the Nineteenth Century. However when March 4 fell on a Sunday (as it did in 1877) the swearing-in would take place on Monday. President Grant and Secretary of State Hamilton Fish suggested that there be a private swearing in on Saturday, March 3, 1877. They were concerned that dissidents could take advantage of the one-day gap between presidents and attempt to install Tilden instead of Hayes. The private ceremony took place in the White House on the 3rd. The public ceremony proceeded without problems on Monday, March 5, 1877.
What was "the Compromise of 1877?"
Who negotiated this "Compromise?"
What are the arguments made by historians who say there was no "compromise?"
- Hayes stated during the campaign that the remaining southern states would be returned to local rule if they would uphold the rights of all citizens.
- There was no appropriation made for the Texas and Pacific Railroad.
- During the campaign Hayes promised to appoint a southerner to his cabinet as move toward unification and bipartisan cooperation.
- The south did not receive a large influx of money to rebuild its economy.
- As stated in number 1, Hayes pledged in advance to restore local rule in the south.