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Party nominees and platforms - Democrats aided by various scandals-Blaine involved-Extricates himself - Belknap impeachment Result of election close-Dispute over returns- Louisiana, Florida, Oregon and South Carolina cases Democratic plan for counting electoral votes - Electoral Commission Bill introduced and passed - Commission formed - Votes of Commission on four disputed returns Decided in favor of Republicans Democratic filibustering-Louisiana and South Carolina gubernatorial contests Secret agreement between Democrats and Republicans Threats to inaugurate Tilden by violence- Hayes takes oath without trouble-Hayes withdraws troops from South Carolina and Louisiana End of reconstruction régime.

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As has been said, the elections of 1874 throughout the country showed an overwhelming reaction, against Grant, and most of the States of the Union, even Massachusetts, were carried by the Democrats. In the Fortyfourth Congress there was a large Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and the Republican majority in the Senate was considerably lessened. The Democrats, therefore, went into the presidential campaign of 1876 determined not only to hold the ground they had, but also to gain the other States still under the radicals Louisiana, Florida and South Carolina.*

Dunning, in his Reconstruction, pp. 281-282, says: "That the conflict of the races in the South was not yet entirely settled in favor of the whites was indicated by the presence of seven negroes in the House, two from South Carolina, and one each from North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana; while in the Senate a single member, Bruce, of Mississippi, still preserved the foothold which his race had gained in that reluctant body." See also McPherson, Handbook of Politics, 1876, p. 139; McClure's Recollections, p. 253.

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At the convention of the Republican party James G. Blaine was called the "plumed knight" by Robert G. Ingersoll, in a speech nominating him as the presidential candidate.*

The fourth paragraph of the Democratic platform reads as follows:

"Reform is necessary to rebuild and establish in the hearts of the whole people the Union elever years ago happily rescued from the danger of a secession of States, but now to be saved from a corrupt centralism which, after inflicting upon ten States the rapacity of carpet-bag tyrannies, has honey-combed the offices of the Federal Government itself with incapacity, waste and fraud, in

*McClure's Recollections, pp. 425-428; Crawford's Blaine, pp. 381-401; Ridpath's Blaine, pp. 133-137.


fected States and muncipalities with the contagion of misrule, and locked fast the prosperity of an industrious people in the paralysis of 'hard times." "

The platform denounced the failure to resume specie payments, demanded public economics, flayed the tariff as a "master-piece of injustice, and inequality and false pretense," and called for many reforms particularly "in the higher grades of the public service" further stating, in advocating a change to Democratic rule, that "the annals of this Republic show a disgrace and censure of a Vice-President; a late speaker of the House of Representatives marketing his rulings as a presiding officer; three Senators profiting secretly by their votes as law makers; five chairmen of the leading committees of the late House of Representatives exposed in jobbery; a late Secretary of the Treasury forcing balances in the public accounts; a late Attorney-General misappropriating public funds; a Secretary of the Navy enriched or enriching friends by percentages

levied off the profits of contractors with his Department; an ambassador to England in a dishonorable speculation; the President's private secretary barely escaping conviction upon trial for guilty complicity in frauds upon the revenue; a Secretary of War impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors," etc.

The Republican platform as usual reviewed the party history and defended its actions; it declared against the application of public funds for the benefit of sectarian educational institutions; demanded legislation to secure the prohibition of "that relic of barbarism, polygamy," and in the fifteenth and sixteenth paragraphs made the following statements:

"We sincerely deprecate all sectional feeling and tendencies. We therefore note with deep solicitude that the Democratic party counts, as its chief hope of success, upon the electoral vote of a united South, secured through the efforts of those who were recently arrayed against the nation; and


we invoke the earnest attention of the country to the grave truth that a success thus achieved would reopen sectional strife and imperil national honor and human rights.

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'We charge the Democratic party with being the same in character and spirit as when it sympathized with treason; with making its control of the House of Representatives the triumph and opportunity of the nation's recent foes; with reasserting and applauding in the National Capitol the sentiments of unrepentant rebellion; with sending Union soldiers to the rear and promoting Con

federate soldiers to the front; with deliberately proposing to repudiate the plighted faith of the Government; with being equally false and imbecile upon the overshadowing financial question; with thwarting the ends of justice by its partisan mismanagements and obstruction of investigation; with proving itself, through the period of its ascendency in the lower House of Congress, utterly incompetent to administer the government; and we warn the country against trusting a party thus alike unworthy, recreant and incapable.”*

In their campaign the Democrats were greatly aided by the numerous public scandals which were unearthed during Grant's term of office, and which reflected very seriously on the administration. Beside the customhouse frauds, the "salary grab," and Crédit Mobilier scandals, the Sanborn. and Jayne contracts, the Safe Burglary frauds, the Seal-Lock frauds and the Subsidy frauds, in which some of the government officials were involved, there were also Indian agent peculations and much crookedness in appointments under the "spoils system." But the greatest scandal was


Stanwood, History of Presidential Elections, pp. 302-327 and History of the Presidency, pp. 356-393; Rhodes, vol. vii., pp. 206-218; Paul L. Haworth, The Hayes-Tilden Disputed Presidential Election of 1876, chaps. i.-iii.; Blaine, vol. ii., pp. 567-580; Hamilton's Blaine, pp. 394-402; Bigelow's Tilden, vol. i., pp. 299-313, and The Writ ings and Speeches of S. J. Tilden, vol. ii., pp. 354373; Hoar, Autobiography, vol. i., pp. 375-383; Foulke's Morton, vol. ii.

unearthed by Benjamin H. Bristow, Secretary of the Treasury, in connection with the frauds against the government by internal revenue officers, the largest of these being the diversion by the "Whiskey Ring," to their own pockets, of many millions of dollars in revenue which belonged to the government. By Bristow's efforts arrests were made in many cities, but chiefly in St. Louis, and 152 liquor men and other private people were indicted beside 86 government officials including the chief clerk in the treasury department and O. E. Babcock, private secretary to President Grant. McDonald, the Missouri supervisor, Joyce, the special revenue agent, Avery, the former chief clerk of the treasury, and McKee, proprietor of the St. Louis Democrat were tried, convicted and sentenced to heavy fines and long terms of imprisonment. McGuire, the revenue collector at St. Louis, pleaded guilty, but Babcock, through the aid of able counsel and the influence of President Grant, was acquitted. Grant, however, upset the verdict of the court by pardoning the convicted men and remitting their fines. Secretary Bristow and Solicitor of the Treasury Wilson, feeling that their efforts had been set at naught by the arbitrary will of one man and against the verdict of a sworn jury, resigned their respective offices.*

* McDonald, Secrets of the Great Whiskey Ring; Rhodes, vol. vii., pp. 182-189: Andrews, Last Quarter-Century, vol. i., pp. 237-242; Dunning, Reconstruction, pp. 283-286; Garland's Grant, pp.

James G. Blaine had also become involved in some questionable transactions not calculated to enhance his reputation, but owing to his remarkable oratorical ability, his great services to the country, and his personal popularity, the charges against him came to naught. While Blaine was Speaker of the House in 1869, a bill for renewing the land-grant to the State of Arkansas for the Little Rock and Arkansas Railroad was introduced in the House, but was SO amended as to kill it. Blaine, however, used his influence to side-track the amendment and the bill in its original form became law. Blaine subsequently accepted a "commission" of $125,000 of land grant bonds (which should have gone to the investors) a "brokerage" of $125,000 of land grant bonds and $32,500 first mortgage bonds for his services in selling $125,000 of the first mortgage bonds of this very railroad to his friends in Maine. He also received $15,150 commission for selling $43,150 worth of securities, chiefly to Maine friends. But the road went into the receiver's hands and Blaine's friends in Maine pressed him to return the money which they felt he had tricked them into investing. Blaine then endeavored to secure money with which to reimburse his friends for their losses, and succeeded in refunding them the entire $168,150, but by a

434-441; A. R. Hancock, Reminiscences of W. S. Hancock, pp. 147-150; David A. Wells, Practical Economics, pp. 218-229; Bolles, Financial History, vol. iii., p. 432 et seq.

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