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Paperback Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876 Book

ISBN: 0743255526

ISBN13: 9780743255523

Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876

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Book Overview

The bitter 1876 contest between Ohio Republican Governor Rutherford B. Hayes and New York Democratic Governor Samuel Tilden was the most sensational and corrupt presidential election in American history. It was also, in many ways, the final battle of the Civil War. Although Tilden received some 265,000 more popular votes than his opponent, and needed only one more electoral vote for victory, contested returns in three southern states still under Republican-controlled...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The Real Story of A Contraversial Election

The book is about the election of 1876, the first time a person that lost the polls on election day, wolud be sitting in the Oval Office. The book describes the process of how R.B. Hayes became president, and the outcomes of his election (for one, the official end of Reconstruction). I strongly recommend it. It's a topic that most presidential history books vague speak about.

HIstory Well Told

1876 election was corrupt and ended an era and prepared for the beginning of another. It clearly marked the end of Reconstruction and influenced the subsequent 90 years. Essentially, in the election of Hayes who is portrayed as a decent individual and Republican party giving up its commitment to Black rights we see the end of the battle for equality. The story is told well by Mr. Morris. It is impossible to read this without drawing comparisons to 2000. Some of the reviewers have argued that there were differences but some of the similarities are striking. Tilden like Gore made fundamental errors immediately after the votes were cast. IN each case there was faith in a legal strategy that did not work while their opponents out manuevered them on the ground. Also Florida was the place where the work was decided. I suggest that anyone reading this book also read 1876 by Gore Vidal to understand how different society was at that time.

Not a hanging chad in sight.

As the smoke cleared from Election Day 1876 the people of the United States found themselves with no clear winner. The Republican nominee, Rutherford B. Hayes at first was sure he had lost while at the same time the Democratic nominee Samuel Tilden was just as sure he had won. The Republican National Chairman was so sure of Tilden's victory that on election night he went to bed with a bottle of whisky for comfort. Enter Dan Sickles, yes the same Dan Sickles that shot down Philip Barton Key, the same Dan Sickles who had been the first American acquitted on a murder charge due to temporary insanity, and the same Dan Sickles who had gotten his corps chewed up at Gettysburg. There is little surprise that this man was possibly the father of the biggest election fraud in American history. It was Sickles who first wired the Republican governors of South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana that they should hold their states for Hayes at all cost. That they did.What follows is a sad tale of corrupt state election boards, sneaky politicians, and various shenanigans by both campaigns. The difference in the final outcome seems to be the result of circumstances that have to remind the reader of a certain recent election. The Republican candidate seemed to exude confidence while Tilden acted like he had been hit in the face with a wet squirrel. Since Tilden didn't seem to know what to do that left his party wandering somewhat in the darkness. Tilden's friends tried but without central leadership, without one hand knowing what the other was doing, their whole effort was a confused jumble. Hayes on the other hand, seemed to be completely at ease. The Republican effort was smooth and effective and in the end everything was all decided in great part by the Supreme Court. Just like 2000. Of course there was also the little understanding that if the south let Hayes win, reconstruction would end in the three states where troops were still stationed. Hayes himself seems to have developed this idea while Tilden sat in his library and wrote legal briefs. This book, by Roy Morris, Jr. is a very easy to read and engaging work. The author makes it easy to keep up with what is going on even though the action is spread from Louisiana to DC and from Florida to Oregon. Mr. Morris not only explains what happened but also speculates that President Grant had started reconstruction out the door, and that it was dead no matter who was President. He convincingly argues that white northerners were as tired of reconstruction as were white southerners and that Hayes in reality probably only shortened the occupation of the south by a few months. He did not therefore, sell out southern blacks as badly as some would have us believe. With the excellent research and scholarship to be found in this book, I highly recommend it

We Who Forgot the Past...

Most people, if they've heard of the infamous 1876 Presidential election at all, recall it only when comparisons were made to the confused aftermath of the 2000 campaign. There were many similarities in that the Democratic candidate ultimately failed to win the Presidency despite outpolling the Republican in the popular vote, and the final judgement was delayed long after the actual voting because of irregularities in Florida (among other states in 1876). But the most glaring thing the two elections have in common is that in both cases the will of the people was ultimately thwarted by that most undemocratic of Constitutional anachornisms: The Electoral College.Author Roy Morris Jr. rescues the 1876 election from the dustbin of history with his diligent research and lively prose. He also does not hesitate to editorialize on the outcome, as the title of the book makes perfectly clear. It's not that Morris is unfair to former Civil War General Rutherford B. Hayes, who was ultimately declared the winner in an unbeleivably convoluted series of back room dealings, quite the contrary in fact. Morris instead lays outs the facts so that the reader can plainly see that New York Governor Samuel Tilden, despite being a less than perfect candidate, deserved a better fate.The stakes were high in America's centenial year. Reconstruction was winding down (indeed, Hayes would ultimately end it), white southeners were reasserting their political muscle in a way that would ultimately lead to Jim Crow and the disenfranchisement of the former slaves and tensions between the parties were running high enough that a resumption of Civil War hostilities seemed a distinct possibility. The outgoing, scandal-plauged Grant administration burdoned Hayes, while Tilden was saddled with a Democratic party that had been the home of the Copperheads during the Civil War. Like 2000, the country was nearly evenly split politically, though unlike 2000, as Morris points out, the outcome did not dramatically effect the course of American history because Morris supposes that Tilden would have made many of the same decsions that were made by Hayes as President.Overall, an extremely well-written and important work that will be enjoyed be history buffs and even by more general readers.

The Most Corrupt Election

Americans all over the country went to bed after election night thinking that the Democrats had won the White House. The Democratic candidate won the popular vote, and while this was conceded by all, the antiquated Electoral College system made the popular vote of decidedly secondary importance. There were races in such states as Florida where the balloting was contested, and outright fraud at many levels was claimed. Election officials headed south to try to provide trustworthy re-counts, but more important were the deals made secretly between the press, the state officials, and the eager Republicans who intended to put their man in office. Only after a Republican member of the Supreme Court cast his vote was there a certified Republican victory, but the outcome will ever be suspect of polling chicanery. So it was that Americans elected a president in 1876. The parallels to the 2000 election are often surprising, but those coincidences are not the point of _Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876_ (Simon & Schuster) by Roy Morris, Jr. The election was indeed stolen, but Hayes's eventual victory and its cost to public confidence in governmental capability meant that Reconstruction was ended and Jim Crow came into power.Both Hayes and Tilden went to bed on election night assured that Tilden had won. Final returns showed that Tilden had won the popular vote by 250,000, and had 184 of the 185 electoral votes sewn up; there were four states which were late in reporting, and one electoral vote from any of them would have given Tilden the election. It seemed a done deal, but Republicans refused to give up. Alternative counts were produced, and Congress set up an Electoral Commission of fifteen members. Southern Democrats started making deals with Hayes's men, and were promised that federal troops would be withdrawn from the states still under reconstruction governments. Blacks who had helped bring the Republicans into office were cut out of the deal, which ensured that black Americans in the South would be held back from participating in politics until the modern civil rights movement. Four months after the election, and just before swearing in, Hayes was declared the winner. It was the most corrupt election in our nation's history, and yet Morris shows that the two candidates were decent men forced by circumstances to play roles in it. Tilden, especially, shines; he clearly saw what would be good for the nation, and acted unselfishly, even though he had been defrauded by the Republicans. Morris says, "It was an act of supreme patriotism on the part of a man who had won, if not the presidency, at least the election." _Fraud of the Century_ is a rousing story, full of dirty tricks and rascals. Certainly it has relevance to recent events, but the 1876 election has been mostly forgotten. Morris has dramatically brought it forward as an example of how the Electoral College previously com
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