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1877 Rutherford Hayes Election Controversy, Inauguration and First Year

1877 Harper's Weekly

President Hayes sworn in with President Grant seated to left

    This historic volume of Harper's Weekly contains the first six months of weekly issues of 1877 which was a momentous year which started with tremendous strife and controversy over the election of 1876, the creation of an electoral commission to resolve the election and the inauguration of President Rutherford P. Hayes shortly after the matter was decided. This volume is in great condition.  Very, very few 1877 volumes of these weekly magazines have survived in such good condition as this one, as shown by the pictures above and those which follow.

These two articles appear on the first text page of this volume. They set out the difficult problem faced by the country with no rules to decide the election and the State of Florida the key to who would win much like the 2000 election. But unlike 2000, this was a much more serious controversy, with violence being threatened and the result not decided until just before inauguration day.


Samuel Tilden was the Democratic candidate of the Southern States and urban north and he clearly was cheated out of an electoral victory. The South saw Tilden's election as the end of Reconstruction and Northern and federal interference in their states, so it was a very emotional and bitter fight.  Ultimately, the compromise which gave the election to the Republican candidate Hayes gave the South what it wanted most, the withdrawal of federal troops from the South.  Thomas Nast's cartoon below in the midst of the controversy shows how serious the matter was with threatened violence.

The means chosen to resolve the matter was an electoral commission chosen by the House and Senate. Their deliberations were closely followed and a key member that balanced the interests left in the middle of the deliberations to become a United States Senator. Below is a engraving of the Electoral Commission.

Below in a scene in the House of Representatives chamber the election is voted upon and an objection is offered over the Florida vote count.

The Republican's won the election but they were severely battered, a point which Thomas Nast emphasized in his cartoon below showing his classic elephant symbol for Republicans heavily bandaged with the caption "Another such victory and I am done."

There are many other great articles and wood engravings in this issue. Below is an article on Frederick Douglas, recently appointed to the position of Marshall of the District of Columbia, and a picture of the original "Uncle Tom." The success of ex-slave Frederick Douglas was the start of the long road which brought us President Barack Obama.

The Brooklyn Bridge was under construction in 1877 and this is a wonderful view of that construction.

This is a wonderful historic volume in great condition that is a joy to read and peruse.

Price: $300

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