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Fraud of the century : Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the stolen election of 1876

by Morris, Roy.

Format: Print Book 2003
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 4 copies
Available (3)
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Bethel Park Public Library Nonfiction 324.973 MO
Location  Bethel Park Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  324.973 MO
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction E680.M85 2003
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  E680.M85 2003
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 324.973082 M83
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  324.973082 M83
Unavailable (1)
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C.C. Mellor Memorial Library Non Fiction IN TRANSIT
Location  C.C. Mellor Memorial Library
Collection  Non Fiction
In this major work of popular history and scholarship, acclaimed historian and biographer Roy Morris, Jr., tells the extraordinary story of how, in America's centennial year, the presidency was stolen, the Civil War was almost reignited, and black Americans were consigned to nearly ninety years of legalized segregation in the South. The bitter 1876 contest between Ohio Republican governor Rutherford B. Hayes and New York Democratic governor Samuel J. Tilden is the most sensational, ethically sordid, and legally questionable presidential election in American history. The first since Lincoln's in 1860 in which the Democrats had a real chance of recapturing the White House, the election was in some ways the last battle of the Civil War, as the two parties fought to preserve or overturn what had been decided by armies just eleven years earlier. Riding a wave of popular revulsion at the numerous scandals of the Grant administration and a sluggish economy, Tilden received some 260,000 more votes than his opponent. But contested returns in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina ultimately led to Hayes's being declared the winner by a specially created, Republican-dominated Electoral Commission after four tense months of political intrigue and threats of violence. President Grant took the threats seriously: he ordered armed federal troops into the streets of Washington to keep the peace. Morris brings to life all the colorful personalities and high drama of this most remarkable -- and largely forgotten -- election. He presents vivid portraits of the bachelor lawyer Tilden, a wealthy New York sophisticate whose passion for clean government propelled him to the very brink ofthe presidency, and of Hayes, a family man whose midwestern simplicity masked a cunning political mind. We travel to Philadelphia, where the Centennial Exhibition celebrated America's industrial might and democratic ideals, and to the nation's heartland, where Republicans waged a cynical but effective bloody shirt campaign to tar the Demo-crats, once again, as the party of disunion and rebellion. Morris dramatically recreates the suspenseful events of election night, when both candidates went to bed believing Tilden had won, and a one-legged former Union army general, Devil Dan Sickles, stumped into Republican headquarters and hastily improvised a devious plan to subvert the election in the three disputed southern states. We watch Hayes outmaneuver the curiously passive Tilden and his supporters in the days following the election, and witness the late-night backroom maneuvering of party leaders in the nation's capital, where democracy itself was ultimately subverted and the will of the people thwarted. Fraud of the Century presents compelling evidence that fraud by Republican vote-counters in the three southern states, and especially in Louisiana, robbed Tilden of the presidency. It is at once a masterful example of political reporting and an absorbing read.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "With partisans still claiming that George W. Bush stole the presidential election of 2000, it is pertinent to look back more than a century to another election that may have been hijacked. The election of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes over Democrat Samuel B. Tilden was a sordid affair in which graft, blatantly undemocratic procedures, and racial politics ruled the day. Morris, a former political correspondent and the author of several books on the Civil War, tells the story with a mixture of verve, cynicism, and outrage. New York governor Tilden had a reputation as a reformer, but the southern wing of his party included both recalcitrant rebels and hard-line racists. Hayes encouraged Northerners to "vote as you fought," further inflaming sectional passions. Although Tilden won the popular vote decisively, massive fraud in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina denied both men a majority in the Electoral College. Eventually, a special Electoral Commission anointed Hayes, guaranteeing the removal of federal troops from the South and ushering in the Jim Crow era. A well-researched, well-told account of a sorry chapter in our political history. --Jay Freeman"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "For those who think the election of George W. Bush over Al Gore in 2000 represented the nadir of American electoral politics, Morris (The Better Angel: Walt Whitman in the Civil War) provides some muchneeded historical perspective. In 1876, New York Democrat Samuel Tilden almost certainly won the popular vote over Ohio Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. But contested returns in Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina, as well as a legal issue in Oregon, eventually led to a 15-member congressional commission awarding Hayes all 20 contested electoral votes, giving him an improbable one-vote victory in the Electoral College. Well researched and written in clear prose, Morris's account details the stunning sequence of political dirty tricks-including overturning Tilden's nearly 8,000-vote lead in Louisiana-as well as the personalities that conspired to steal the election from Tilden. Although he maintains the decency of both candidates, Morris revives the political legacy of Tilden, portrayed here as a courageous and principled politician who stood up to the corruption of New York's Tammany Hall. Tilden chose to concede the election rather than drag the nation down a dangerous path. "It was an act of supreme patriotism," Morris concludes, "for a man who had won, if not the presidency, at least the election." In sharp contrast to the contested election of 2000, dominated by hanging chads and confusing ballots, Morris's account of the 1876 election reminds us that character can triumph over politics. Agent, Tom Wallace. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Hayes, Rutherford B., -- 1822-1893.
Tilden, Samuel J. -- (Samuel Jones), -- 1814-1886.
Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1876.
Contested elections -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Elections -- Corrupt practices -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Political corruption -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Presidential candidates -- United States -- Biography.
Publisher New York :Simon & Schuster,2003
Language English
Description 311 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 257-296) and index.
ISBN 0743223861
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