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Democrat Discontent

January 23, 2020

If there really had been a deal between Republicans and Democrats in 1877, it was not enforced very well.  Supposedly, the Democrats were to stop filibustering the Electoral vote count.  This would make Rutherford Hayes the 19th President.  Then the Republican administration would remove troops from the South.  The Southern Democrats in turn were to protect the civil rights of the former slaves, and the Northern Republicans were to invest in Southern railroads.

The Democratic filibuster did not end until the wee hours of March 2.  Hayes became President in spite of the opposition.  Hayes did remove troops from the South, but the Democrats in the South did everything they could to suppress the civil and voting rights of the former slaves.  Northerners were willing to invest in Southern infrastructure, but other developments in the South made this unnecessary.

The Democrats remained angry that their candidate had lost.  The day after the filibuster ended they passed a resolution declaring that Tilden and not Hayes had been elected President.

The Democrats would not change their minds about this.  Four years later their campaign platform would state: “The great fraud of 1876-77, by which, upon a false count of the Electoral votes of two[1] states, the candidate defeated at the polls was declared to be President, and for the first time in American history, the will of the people was set aside under a threat of military violence, struck a deadly blow at our representative system of government.”

During the four years between the House resolution and the Democratic Party platform statement President Hayes had little influence and few friends.  He received no accolades.  The only major piece of legislation during his term of office was passed over his veto.

[1] The two states they focused on were Florida and Louisiana.

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