The election of 1876 is one of the most debated elections in American history. The election of 1876 is composed of candidatesRepublican Rutherford B. Hayes,Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, and also a minor Greenback party candidate Peter Cooper. This election has been debated for many years because of the corruption of the election process and until this day this election is still being accused as fraud, corruption, and an all around crisis.
The presidential candidates of 1876 include Ohio Governor Rutherford Birchard Hayes, New York Governor Samuel Jones Tilden for the democrats, and also an industrial genius Peter Cooper from the greenback party. Although the greenback party is the minor party in this election, it is the most different from the three. During the year of 1876 politics focused on the issue of reconstruction in the south and how they were to pay for all the damages that needed repairs. Republicans and democrats of the time mainly had mostly the same political platforms or views on everything which made it difficult to whom the voter would choose for the party's platforms were so closely alike. The republican and democratic parties touched base on the fact of ending reconstruction but had not given any specific information on how. The main debate between the two was the fact of there party name, republicans trying to keep there party in office and democrats trying to get back into office. This led to nasty slander being thrown back and forth between the two parties followers. Democrats raving about the "waiving of the bloody shirt to take a stab at Rutherford being in the union military during the civil war and being wounded several times, while republicans accused Tilden of being involved in railroad scandals for he was wealthy. Although Hayes was indeed in the Army and Tilden was wealthy facts were not supported to these accusations of fraud and of cowardice. (Wigand, Steve. Us History for dummies) Another main difference reflected during this time period was that those who are nominated to be president of the United States didn't travel and make appearances as they do today. The candidates had people who did all there campaign deeds for them, something like a surrogates. Hayes had ran his election differently than Tilden for he had a "Front Porch Campaign where several reporters and journalist listened to him speak from his front porch in Ohio and took down his words and quotes and circulated them through the papers.
The greenback's however had stood out from the two political parties for they had proposed a new way to pay for the rest of the reconstruction movement and how to get out of the economic crisis the United States had been in since Ulysses S. Grant (former president from 1868 until the election of 1876) had put them in after the Civil War. The Greenbacks had been a party full of people who had believed that legally accepted forms of printed paper used as currency, or better known aspaper money, for the purpose of issuing money against the country as opposed to silver or gold which had been done before this time in order to pay back the country from repairs during reconstruction. The need for this paper money would then, in the greenbacks minds, be in high demand causing inflation. Inflation was a positive thing for the paying of reconstruction would be so much cheaper for the government to pay as opposed to the regular currency of money which would be very costly. The greenbacks would not only be able to afford to pay for reconstruction but also make and have more left over money to pay the countries debt and get the United States out of its economic depression. The focus of the greenbacks was to get their idea of how to fix the United States financially by using paper money as the national standard as opposed to gold or silver. However the only votes that were looked at in depth were those of republican Rutherford Hayes and democrat Samuel Tilden. Samuel Tilden had won the popular vote of citizens in 1876 with 4,288,546 votes followed by Hayes with 4,034,311 votes.(McNamara, Robert "The Election of 1876 Brought Rutherford B. Hayes to White House Under a Cloud: Samuel J. Tilden Won the Popular Vote and May Have Been Cheated Out of Victory) Also, for those who were curious about the greenback party and there standings in the popular vote, Cooper gained 81,737 votes for the party in 1876. ("Peter Cooper Park July 1999) Even though Samuel won the popular vote, the electoral votes were undecided for. There were conflicts in the states of Louisiana, Florida, Oregon, and South Carolina. There was a lot of confusion and debate, but Oregon quickly decided on Hayes causing a tie and an outside force was to now determine the outcome of this election. The next step was to look at our United States Senate and the House of Representatives but unfortunately, neither group could decide for once again it would be a tie, due to the fact that the United States Senate was made up of all republicans and the House of Representatives is fully democrat. When this happened the United States had nothing to fall back on so the creation of the Electoral Commission was born to solve conflicts such as this. The Electoral commission was the "Congress attempted to establish an impartial panel to decide the disputed Election of 1876" (Electoral commission of 1877: "Elections, From the Disputed Election of 1876)
In conclusion, the election of 1876 became know as the most controversial election in history because of the equal distribution in political parties between the Senate, which was all republican, and House of Representatives, that was made up of democrats. This lead to the creation of the Electoral commission, which favored Hayes, and led to his victory. This election is known as a scandal for they gave Hayes unfair support when creating the Electoral commission and the Democratic Party with forever look at it as corruption and a stolen election.
Darcy L. Liming
Works Cited page
Bloomber, Michael R, Mayor and Benepe, adrian, commissioner. New Yorks Department of Parks & Recreation"Peter Cooper Park <http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/historical_signs/hs_historical_sign.php?id=6510>
McNamara, Robert. "The election of the brought Rutherford B. Hayes to White house under a cloud: Samuel J. Tilden won the popular vote and may have been cheated out of victory 19th century history New York. <http://history1800s.about.com/od/presidentialcampaigns/a/electionof1876.htm>
Morris, Roy Jr. Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the stolen election of 1876. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney: Simon & Schuster, 2003
Rehinquist, William, H. Centennial Crisis: The disputed election of 1876. New York: Random House Inc. 2004
Wiegand, Steve. "U.S. History for Dummies Whiley Publishing inc. February 2001
The Electoral Commission: Elections, from the disputed election of 1876 <http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h395.html>