Wednesday, Jan. 07, 2009

Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes (above, at right) had essentially lost the 1876 election. The Republican former congressman and Ohio governor had fewer popular votes than his opponent, Democrat Samuel J. Tilden (above, at left). Disputed results in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina (Republicans claimed racial intimidation at the polls) were unable to be resolved, forcing the two parties to strike a deal: Democrats would give Hayes the presidency if Republicans removed all federal troops from the South. The deal was made — it would later be known to schoolchildren as the Compromise of 1877 — the troops were removed, and Reconstruction came to an end. Democrats regained the South and instituted decades of de facto racial discrimination.