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The Deal That Ended Reconstruction

My interest in the Civil War includes all aspects of the War from the cause and the road to secession and war to the end of the Reconstruction period that allowed the defeated South to get back on its own two feet and get on with a normal life.

I recently stumbled on an interesting summation that included a political deal in the 1876 election of Rutherford Birchard Hayes which involved the removal of Federal troops from three carpetbag states, thus ending the Reconstruction period.

When Hayes only received 4,036,298 votes to his Democrat opponents 4,300,500, and neither candidate received the necessary majority of electorial votes, the election was eventually thrown into the US House of Representatives.  When this august body could not reach a decision, the issue was referred to a bipartisian electorial commission consisting of seven Republicans, seven Democrats and one independent.  The independent was supposed to be Supreme Court Justice David Davis.  But he unexpectedly retired and was replaced by a Republican, Justice Bradley.  The vote along party lines was therefore not a surprising victory for Hayes.  The Democrats agreed to accept the decision only in return for the removal of all troops from the last three carpetbag states of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Ergo end of Reconstruction.


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