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Chris R asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

U.S. History - Compromise of 1876-77?

Can someone point me in the direction of a site that has some info on this topic. Or you can explain it yourself if you want.


4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It's actually called "the Compromise of 1877". You'll find it mentioned in many history texts (and I advised my son to just follow what they said if the question came up on his AP US History test).

    Basically, the idea is that, in the resolution of the disputed Presidential election of 1876, Rutherford B Hayes, through intermediaries, offered a deal (including certain assurances --esp. to remove federal troops from the South and so to end Reconstruction, abandoning the effort to secure the rights (esp. voting rights) for the black freedmen.

    But what the textbooks never seem to mention is that this so-called Compromise of 1877 is nowhere documented and was only first put forward (at least in its full-blown form) as a hypothesis in 1951!

    I find the theory utterly unconvincing. Here's the basic reasons why:

    1) The things Hayes ended up doing that were supposedly part of the deal were things he had ALREADY indicated he would do! Most importantly, he had promised, BEFORE the election, that he would withdraw the rest of the North's troops from the South. This was not surprising because, as Grant had discovered, most of the North was not longer willing to continue this effort. Because Hayes did as he said he would Reconstruction did indeed end in 1877, but NOT because of a special compromise that he (or his supporters) made with Democrats to "steal" electoral votes after the election was over.

    2) The idea of Hayes striking such a deal fits with nothing else in his career. He was a reformer and man of character throughout, as a study of his term as Governor or Ohio and as President show.


    Anyway, here is the fuller picture, the "Compromise" theory. (make of it what you will) and its problems:

    When two slates of electors showed up for four disputed states (Florida, South Carolina, Lousiana and Oregon) the Commission appointed by Congress to settle which slates to accept actually ended up voting (along party lines) for the Hayes electors in every case. It was only at this point, when the Senate had to vote on whether to accept the Commission's decision that any idea of a "deal" came up -- NOT a deal to 'throw' the election, but to avoid a possible Democratic filibuster (Republicans had a majority in the Senate).

    The idea that there was an informal compromise made to smooth the way has never been proved. The phrase "Compromise of 1877" was cointed by historian C. Vann Woodward in his 1951 book Reunion and Reaction. He claimed that the compromise consisted of:

    * Troops will be recalled from the statehouse property in the three states.

    * Funds will be provided to build the Texas and Pacific Railroad.

    * A southerner will be appointed as Postmaster General.

    * Funds will be appropriated to rebuild the economy in the South.

    * The solution to the race problem will be left to the state governments.

    But there is something very odd about this list. Of the five items in the list, THREE never happened, and the two that DID (troop removal and the appointment of a Southerner to the cabinet) were things Hayes had already promised to do during the campaign!! So there was no NEED for him to "Compromise" on these points! (The wikipedia article notes some of this in passing, but does not give these facts their due.)

    For that matter, the idea that this man whom all agree served honorably and scandal-free both as Ohio governor and as President supposedly pulled a sudden secret 'double-cross' (for which we have NO record, mind you)... it's a VERY questionable hypothesis.

    There's one other major piece that people get confused about. The suggestion is made that Hayes, in order to gain the Presidency suddenly changed the national policy and brought Reconstruction to an end is very misleading. In fact, the Reconstruction effort had been losing political support in the North for several years. As a result Grant had already removed most of the federal troops before the election of 1876. And everyone was expecting it all to end shortly. (This was a sad outcome, but Hayes was NOT the cause.)

    In other words, there is really NO reason for the contention that Hayes chose to betray the freedmen in order to settle this dispute and gain the Presidency. There is serious doubt that any such Compromise ever happened. The most that could credibly be suggested is that Hayes's supporters simply assured the Democratic Senators that Hayes would indeed do as his campaign had promised. (This is possible --since people sometimes doubt promises made during a political campaign! -- but is would hardly be a dirty deal or merit the name and notoriety of "the Compromise of 1877.)

    By the way, more recent authors on this subject have tended NOT to agree with Vann Woodward's view. But as is often the case with these things, the reference works, text books and historians who do not specialize in this particular period, will take YEARS to catch up!

    For that matter, the idea of a dirty deal or conspiracy is so appealing to the popular imagination it is usually tough to shake it even when the evidence is not very strong. (This is evident from the fact that there is widespread popular belief that corrupt bargains --or at least attempts at them-- were involved in ALL the disputed Presidential elections -- Jefferson [& Burr], JQ.Adams, Hayes, GW.Bush-- though a close study suggests it may be true of NONE of them!)

    Source(s): Roy Morris Jr., Fraud of the Century : Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876 (2003) --despite the title, Morris points out how Tilden's majority in the contested states was the result of ballot-stuffing, threats and attacks that drove away black Republican voters, etc , and he is not convinced that Hayes' agreed to the "corrupt bargain"
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  • 1 decade ago

    Try Wikipedia.....

    in essence it was a compromise over the disputed presidental election of 1876 between Hayes and Tilden.....In exchange for removing Federal troops from the south, the south agreed to not challenge Hayes election....The compromise ended reconstruction in the south

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  • 3 years ago

    because your professor does not favor you to understand the reality. which incorporates: The Democratic party replaced into adverse to Abraham Lincoln & the Democrats were professional slavery. The establisment of the KKK replaced into by Democrats. Segregationists were Democrats. As you will discover, the heritage of the Democratic party is amazingly anti-black. Your professor can't honestly coach "heritage 'until eventually 1876" without disclosing the adverse civil rights time table of the Democratic party. they could purely attempt to regulate heritage by telling you procedures tremendous the Dems are.

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  • 3 years ago

    The Compromise Of 1876

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