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June 14-16 The Republican National Convention in Cincinnati nominates Governor Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio for president and Congressman William Wheeler of New York as vice president.

June 27-29 The Democratic National Convention in St. Louis nominates Governor Samuel J. Tilden of New York for president and Governor Thomas Hendricks of Indiana as vice president. 

November 7 Democrat Samuel Tilden wins a narrow majority of the popular vote against Republican Rutherford Hayes, but both sides claim to have won the presidency in the Electoral College vote.  The 19 electoral votes in three states—South Carolina (7), Florida (4), and Louisiana (8)—are disputed.  They are the only remaining Southern states with federal troops stationed under Reconstruction policy.  One elector in Oregon is also disputed.  Tilden’s total stands at 184 electoral votes, one short of a majority, with Hayes at 165 needing all 20 of the disputed electoral votes to win the presidency. 

December 6 The Electoral College meets in all the states and cast ballots for president and vice president.  The results are certified and sent to Congress.  Two sets of results are returned for Florida, Louisiana, Oregon, and South Carolina.

December 7 The Congressional session opens.  This is the final session for the lame-duck Congress which leaves office on March 5, 1877 (the day for inaugurating the new president and swearing in the new Congress).  Republicans control the Senate and Democrats control the House in both the outgoing and incoming Congresses.

December 21 A special Senate committee for establishing a process for resolving the disputed electoral count is announced.  It is chaired by Republican George Edmunds of Vermont.  Other Republican majority members are:  Roscoe Conkling of New York; Frederick Frelinghuysen of New Jersey; and Oliver Morton of Indiana.  Democratic minority members are:  Thomas Bayard of Delaware; M. W. Ransom of North Carolina; and Allen Thurman of Ohio.

December 22 A special House committee for establishing a process for resolving the disputed electoral count is announced.  It is chaired by Democrat Henry Payne of Ohio.  Other majority Democratic members are:  Abram Hewitt of New York; Eppa Hunton of Virginia; and William Springer of Illinois.  Republican minority members are:  George Hoar of Massachusetts, George McCrary of Iowa, and George Willard of Michigan.

January 25, 1877 The Senate passes the Electoral Commission bill, which establishes a 15-member commission—of five senators, five representatives, and five Supreme Court justices—to decide the disputed election.  Its decisions will be considered final unless overridden by both houses of Congress.  The bill is approved by the Senate, 47-17, with Democrats voting 23-1 and Republicans voting 24-16 in the affirmative. 

Justice David Davis, an independent assumed to be the deciding vote on the Electoral Commission, is elected to the U.S. Senate by a Democratic - Greenback coalition in the Illinois state legislature, 101-99.  He later resigns from the Supreme Court and refuses to serve on the commission.  His place on the Electoral Commission is filled by Justice Joseph Bradley, a Republican.


January 26 The House passes the Electoral Commission bill, 191-86, with Democrats voting 158-18 in the affirmative.  A majority of House Republicans voted against the measure, 68-33.  In both houses combined, Democrats overwhelming favored the measure, 181-19, while Republicans opposed it, 84-57.

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January 29 President Grant signs the Electoral Commission Act into law.

February 1 Congress meets in a joint session to count the electoral votes for president and vice president.  Senator Thomas Ferry of Michigan, a Republican and president pro tempore of the Senate, opens the electoral reports and begins the count of states in alphabetical order.  Conflicting sets of returns are presented for Florida, which are referred to the Electoral Commission.

February 2-3 The case of Florida is argued by lawyers for both the Republicans and the Democrats before the Electoral Commission.

February 5 William Evarts, lead counsel for the Republicans, argues for admitting only the evidence already submitted to the joint session of Congress.  Charles O’Conor, counsel for the Democrats, argues for admitting other evidence.  The Electoral Commission dismisses the lawyers and audience, then deliberates in a secret session.

February 8 By an 8 to 7 party-line vote, the Electoral Commission accepts Evarts proposal to disallow the presentation of additional evidence.  

February 9 The Electoral Commission votes 8 to 7 to give Florida’s four electoral votes to the Republican ticket of Rutherford Hayes and William Wheeler.

February 10 A joint session of Congress receives the Electoral Commission directive that Florida’s electoral votes be counted for Hayes/Wheeler.  The two houses meet separately, with the Senate affirming the decision of the Electoral Commission.

February 12 The House rejects the Electoral  Commission’s report on Florida, 168-103.

February 13-15 The Electoral Commission hears arguments from both sides on the case of Louisiana, then goes into secret deliberations on the 15th. 

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February 15 According to Harper’s Weekly, an assassination attempt is made on the life of Governor Stephen Packard of Louisiana, a Republican.  The governor knocks down the gun aimed at his heart, and the bullet grazes his knee.  The perpetrator is taken into custody.

February 16 The Electoral Commission, on an 8 to 7 party-line vote, awards Louisiana’s eight electoral votes to the Republican ticket of Hayes/Wheeler.

February 18 Congress receives the official word of the Electoral Commission’s decision to award Louisiana’s electoral votes to Hayes/Wheeler.  The House is in recess.

February 19 A joint session of Congress announces the Electoral Commission’s findings on Louisiana.  After a two-hour debate, the Senate approves the decision, 41-28.  The House recesses until the next day.

February 20 The House rejects the Electoral Commission’s directive on Louisiana, 172-99.  The joint session of Congress reassembles.  The electoral count continues until the state of Michigan, at which time a Democratic objection is made to one Republican elector from that state.  The houses separate, and both overrule the objection.

February 21 The joint session of Congress continues the electoral count through the state of Ohio.  The disputed electoral return in Oregon is submitted to the Electoral Commission.

February 22 Lawyers for both sides argue before the Electoral Commission concerning Oregon, then the commission goes into secret session.

February 23 By an 8 to 7 party-line vote, the Electoral Commission awards Oregon’s three electoral votes to the Republican ticket of Hayes/Wheeler.  

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February 24 Congress receives the Electoral Commission directive to grant Oregon’s electoral votes to Hayes/Wheeler.  The Senate affirms the finding, 40-24, while the House rejects it, 151-107.  The joint session of Congress reassembles, and the electoral count continues.

February 26 Democratic objections are made to the electoral returns of Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, but are overruled by both houses meeting separately.  The South Carolina returns are referred to the Electoral Commission, which hears arguments from lawyers for both sides.

Negotiations begin at the Wormley House hotel in Washington D.C. between a group of Southern Democrats and Ohio Republican supporters of Hayes.


February 27 The Electoral Commission, on an 8 to 7 party-line vote, awards South Carolina’s seven electoral votes to the Republican ticket of Hayes/Wheeler.

February 28 A joint session of Congress receives the directive from the Electoral Commission to count South Carolina’s electoral votes for Hayes/Wheeler.  The Senate affirms this finding, while the House rejects it.  The Congress reassembles in joint session, and the electoral count continues.  Congressman Abram Hewitt, the Democratic party chairman, presents a second set of electoral returns for Vermont, but Senate President Ferry refuses to accept it.  Meeting in separate session, the Senate votes down the objection to Vermont’s electoral report.  In the House, Democrats filibuster the vote on Vermont by a series of delaying tactics.

March 1 In a late-night session, the objection to Vermont is finally overruled at 10 p.m., and Vermont’s electoral votes are awarded to Hayes/Wheeler.  The electoral count continues, but a Democratic objection is made against one Republican elector from Wisconsin.  The Houses separate, and the Senate quickly overrules the objection, voting to grant Wisconsin’s votes to Hayes/Wheeler.

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March 2 After a long, boisterous session, the House finally overrules the objection at 3:38 a.m. and approves Wisconsin’s votes for Hayes/Wheeler.  At 4:10 a.m., a joint session of Congress then awards Wisconsin’s electoral votes to the Republicans.  Rutherford Hayes is declared president of the United States and William Wheeler is declared vice president; winning 185-184 in the Electoral College.

March 5 Rutherford B. Hayes is sworn in publicly as president of the United States.

Spring 1877 President Hayes removes the remaining federal troops in the South from political duty (guarding the statehouses) and the era of Reconstruction formally ends.

 
     
 

 

     
 

 
     
 

 
     
 

 

 

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