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And we have no such means for its decision as ought to be provided by law.” Hayes could not have imagined how prophetic his words would become.Tilden emerged as the undisputed victor in 17 states containing 184 electoral votes, and Hayes clearly prevailed in 15 states with a total of 166 electoral votes.Tilden won all of the former Confederate states that had emerged from reconstruction; the border states of Delaware, Kentucky, and Missouri a handful of Northeastern states; and the three scattered states of Indiana, Missouri, and West Virginia.
There has never been anything like it before or since.
Even in 2000, when the Florida Supreme Court and then the U. Supreme Court took turns overseeing the recounting of votes in Florida, the dispute was limited to one state and there were no allegations of violence or widespread fraud on Election Day.
We remember 1876 though, not because of the presidential campaign, but because of the inconclusive vote.
Two weeks before Election Day, Hayes confided in his diary that “danger is imminent: A contested result.
First, the widespread corruption of the administration of the departing incumbent president, Ulysses S. Second, the struggle to re-establish state governments throughout the areas controlled by the defeated Confederacy.
Tilden appealed to rural voters who were fed up with the corrupt mess in Washington as well as to white Southerners who sought to recapture control of their state governments from Republican carpetbaggers and newly free African-Americans.
Each state has its own rules for counting the votes cast by the public on Election Day, and Congress remains free to decide how it wants to count contested electoral votes.
So as we endure a presidential campaign that offers new, often unwanted, surprises at every turn, the best conclusion may be that the election results are conclusive, whatever they happen to be.
And this lack of a standard is what precipitated the events in 1876 and again in 2000.
The special commission that Congress created in 1876 was a one-off, and nothing has replaced it.