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Mon, 02.26.1877

The Compromise Of 1877, a story

(political cartoon)

*The Compromise of 1877 was enacted on this date in 1877.  This was an unwritten deal, informally arranged among U.S. Congressmen, that settled the intensely disputed 1876 presidential election.  

This agreement, less than a week before the inauguration, resulted in the United States federal government pulling the last troops out of the South, ending the Reconstruction Era. Through the Compromise, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was awarded the White House over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden on the understanding that Hayes would remove the federal troops whose support was essential for the survival of Republican state governments in South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana.  Under the compromise, Democrats who controlled the House of Representatives allowed the decision of the Electoral Commission to take effect. 

The outgoing president, Republican Ulysses S. Grant, removed the soldiers from Florida, and as president, Hayes removed the remaining troops from South Carolina and Louisiana. As soon as the troops left, many white Republicans also left, and the "Redeemer" Democrats, who already dominated other state governments in the South, took control. The exact terms of the agreement are somewhat contested as the documentation is insufficient. Black Republicans felt betrayed as they lost power, being exposed to domestic terrorism and voter suppression.  By 1905, virtually all Black men were effectively disenfranchised by state legislatures in every Southern state. 

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