The Electoral Commission of 1877

After the election of 1876, an electoral commission had to be set up to decide whether Rutherford B. Hayes, Republican candidate, or Samuel J. Tilden, Democratic candidate, would become the next president. This engraving by Theodore R. Davis, printed in the February 17, 1877, edition of "Harper's Weekly," shows the fifteen-man Commission, made up of five senators, five representatives, and five justices of the supreme court. Of this group, seven were Democrats, seven were Republicans, and the fifteenth member was an independent. Five days before the commission convened, the independent member, Justice David Davis, unexpectedly disqualified himself from the commission after he was elected to be a senator from Illinois. His replacement, Joseph Bradley, was a Republican, and gave the disputed votes to Hayes, who therefore became president.

February 17, 1877
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