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Election of 1876 sample essay

The election of 1876 was incredibly important to American history. The issues that came up during this election were extremely important in the Reconstruction-era United States. Following the Civil War, the Union army remained in the South, but because of this election their presence would end and Reconstruction would effectively cease. The election results were disputed and there was a great deal of controversy regarding how votes were counted and how the electoral system versus the popular vote system worked.

The two candidates involved in this election were Rutherford Hayes of Ohio and Samuel J. Tilden of New York. Tilden was winning the popular vote and was ahead in the electoral votes when a dispute arose over 20 uncounted electoral votes in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina, and yet in Oregon there was another issue when one elector was found to be illegal. All of these votes would eventually be awarded to Rutherford Hayes, who would win the presidency in the midst of controversy. Interestingly, this was the turning point in the American South in terms of the end of Reconstruction.

Because of this, a compromise was reached that allowed for Reconstruction to end in the South and, ultimately, the Compromise of 1877 would create even more prejudice and inequality amongst African-Americans and whites in the South. Blacks would be barred from voting and were no longer allowed any influence in government at all. The election of 1876, besides being extremely controversial and causing much infighting politically, would change the course of American history for the worse for people of color.

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