Electoral College Controversy: Electoral Commission


 "The 'Democ-Rats' Caught in the Presidential Trap."
  Cartoonist:  Joseph Keppler
  Source:  Cartoons From "Puck"
  Date:   February 28, 1877, p. 7

Click to see a large version of this cartoon...

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
Democrats had widely supported the creation of the Electoral College Commission to settle the disputed 1876 presidential election. With Justice David Davis assumed to be the deciding vote, they were confident of their chance of victory for Democratic nominee Samuel Tilden. When Davis resigned from the commission to take a seat in the U.S. Senate, and was replaced by a Republican partisan, Justice Joseph Bradley, Democrats then felt “trapped” by a process of their own making.

In Keppler’s cartoon, the eight Republicans on the commission form the cage of the rat-trap (clockwise from the left): Justice Joseph Bradley, Senator George Edmunds, Representative George Hoar, Senator Oliver Morton, Justice Samuel Miller, Representative James Garfield, Senator Frederick Frelinghuysen, and Justice William Strong. The seven Democratic rats are (left-right): Justice Nathan Clifford, Representative Henry Payne, Representative Eppa Hunton, Justice Stephen Field, Senator Allen Thurman, Representative Josiah Abbott, and Senator Thomas Bayard. The disputed electoral returns were decided by the commission on a strict party vote, 8-7, for the Republicans, allowing Rutherford B. Hayes to be elected president.













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