The Marshville Messenger
Hey, it's Hayes!
Vol. 1. NO. 11 A Nickle a Newspaper Saturday, March 3, 1877
Voting Results and Analysis
Rutherford B. Hayes has won the election of 1876. The presidential race was a close and controversial one, with Samuel J. Tilden just missing the mark. Tilden won the popular vote with around 4,300,000 votes while Hayes jogged just behind with 4,036,000 votes. Tilden was a democrat, with strong support in the south. Some of the states in the northeast such as New York and Connecticut, also supported Tilden. These states went to Tilden because of want for the end of Reconstruction. Hayes was strongest in the far northeast, midwest, and far west. Only three states in the south, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida went to Hayes. These states were the source of much controversy. The popular vote was extremely close. In Florida there was only a difference one hundred votes between Hayes and Tilden. Hayes almost didn't get the three state’s electoral votes. The battle for these 20 votes was extremely bitter, both politically and legally. The electoral votes were tied. Each candidate had 184 votes, and therefore the winner was unclear. The election was soon concluded however, when Hayes was declared the winner by the President of the Senate. Overall there was a dramatic change from the previous election of 1872 between Ulysses S. Grant and Horace Greeley. The number of states under the control of the democratic party has risen from six to seventeen, almost tripling, while the republicans have lost some control, the number of states they dominated going from thirty-one to twenty-one. While Hayes has won the office, the democrats have made a significant comeback.
Current Issue: Mudslinging
The election of 1876 was a mess with a lot of mudslinging circulating. Grant (Republican) was coming out of the Presidency and with it being one of the most corrupted administration in U.S history, it was a great opportunity for the Democrats to regain some power. Republicans and Democrats repeatedly savaged each other. Republicans attacked the Democrats by calling them out as Rebels who had tried to secede the country causing the Civil War to begin. A popular slogan that Republicans used was “Not every Democrat is a rebel, but every Rebel is a Democrat.” Republicans had tried to remind the voters that Hayes had been in the War, a tactic criticized by Democrats referred as “waving the bloody shirt,” to blame the Democrats for the lost lives that shed on the field during the war. The Republican party had a lot of things in their minds, but the Democrats didn't stay quiet for long. The Democratic party attacked them by calling out the corruption of the previous administration. Using the slogan “throw the rascals out,” was a way for the Democratic party to attack the Republican party. With both parties claiming victory, the Republicans accused the Democrats for using violence and fraud in results of them winning over the states.
Conflict 1: "Grantism"
It was a risky campaign, and the Republican party wasn't in such a good shape. Followed by the scandals in Grant’s administration, stained the party’s reputation. Not only would that have been the problem, but crop prices were falling, and the number of unemployed was increasing. The administration of Grant would be considered as one of the biggest conflicts that affected the Republican party in order for them to win again. Republicans were continuously attacked, because of the three corruptions that happened during the term of Grant. This scandal led up to the term “Grantism,” which is synonymous with greed and corruption. Although many of these scandals weren't run by Grant himself, they were done by people that worked for him. It all started in 1869 when conspirators bought huge amounts of gold, who intended to sell everything at a great profit, Grant came to realize that his brother-in-law (Dent) was harmed public confidence and ordered a sale of $4 million worth of government gold. This made thousands of people suffered financial losses, not included Fisk and Gould, who had tried to get Dent to help by making sure Grant wouldn't ruin the scheme. Another person was his Secretary of War, who accepted bribes from companies with licenses to trade on the reservations of many Native American tribes. Another problem was that taxes on liquor were being raised to help pay off the cost of the war. In order to not pay the tax, many liquor companies bribed officials in the Department of Treasury. The Treasury Secretary eventually found out what was going on and convicted more than 100 officials. Grant on the other hand, successfully protected his private secretary, who had done the same thing. The true problem of this whole corruption was the spoils system that ran under Grant’s administration. This affected the Republican party, by making people doubt about their administration and many supporting the Democratic party.
Editorial: Who benefited from the Election (D or R)?
As a Southern newspaper, the Marshville Messenger has a very clear view of the election of 1876. Rutherford B. Hayes only received the office because of the Corrupt Bargain, or the Compromise of 1877. This Bargain allowed him to become president in exchange for the Northern Troops to be pulled from the South. Both sides, Republicans and Democrats, were able to gain, but which benefited the most from the Bargain? Prior to the election of 1876 the Republicans had been mostly successful. They had passed several amendments/laws, the South was being harshly regulated, and they had won the previous election of 1872 in a landslide. The only trouble they had was financially involved. The Democrats were suffering terribly. They had little voice in the government, majority of their supporters weren’t allowed to vote since the civil war, and they had lost the previous election. Someone that would end reconstruction and deal with the South as it deserved, was sorely needed. The country was falling apart. The South had been infested with Northern troops for too long, soldiers that ransacked cities and interfered with daily lives. African Americans were slowly but steadily finding their way in society, and the troops were strictly enforcing the government’s new laws. By 1876 the Democrat supporters were allowed to vote again. They made a massive recovery, equally sharing the states. Samuel J. Tilden could have been president. He won the popular vote and that should have been the deciding factor once the electoral college was tied. However, the Bargain was struck. Rutherford B. Hayes became president. Was that really significant? Was it an advantage for the Republicans? Some believe so, that the lawlessness in the South only harmed the Democratic cause and that another Republican president would impact the future course of events, but in reality it did not. Presidents come and go. What philosophy or goal one president may work for in his entire time in office, the next may toss away. Yet, with the withdrawal of Northern troops Reconstruction ended, an entire era. Democrats have gained much power. Now that Northern troops have been withdrawn the South, Democrats can dominate state governments. The laws and amendments that Republicans worked so diligently to pass will hardly be enforced. African Americans will be repressed, and lose their protection. Southern “Redeemer” Democrats can seize control. In conclusion, Democrats are the true beneficiaries of the election. While Republicans have gained a single president, Democrats have regained power and influence.
Conflict 2: African Americans and Voting
Ever since the Civil War, blacks have been treated just a little bit better than they were as slaves, but they still have been discriminated against especially when it come to voting Groups like the KKK who have scared blacks from voting in elections, and some places have made it harder for African Americans to vote. Prior to the final decision, Republicans accused Democrats of not counting African American votes in favor of Republicans in South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. They also accused them of using physical intimidation and bribery to prevent them for voting for the Republicans. Conveniently enough for the Republicans, they needed 20 electoral votes, which was the same amount of electoral votes that South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida totaled up to. Tilden only needed one more electoral vote to become president so these 3 disputed states would have made a huge difference. With those three states, Hayes captured the necessary amount of votes to capture the presidency, and he can thanked the democrats for that.
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