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City Club Of Boise - The Election of 1876 and the end of Reconstruction


Dr. Raymond Krohn presented the history of the 1876 election and the end of Reconstruction. Krohn is a member of the Department of History at Boise State University.

The election of 1876 stands as one of the most disputed elections in U.S. history and the result was the beginning of one of darkest chapters in our national story. In that election Democrat Samuel Tilden, then Governor of New York, received the majority of the popular vote over Ohio Governor, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. However, Governor Tilden was one electoral vote short of the 185 required to win.

In three states, Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina, both parties reported that their candidates had won. The electors in those states numbered 20. Republicans made a deal with the Democrats to remove Federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction. In exchange, the Democrats agreed to award the 20 disputed electoral votes to Hayes, making him the 19th President of the United States. The result immediately signified Reconstruction's downfall and ultimately produced a new system of white supremacy and black subordination in the South.