And glad you’re there to help, Hazel.
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The following is the text of the declaration of the House of Representatives that Samuel J. Tilden has been duly elected President of the United States:
…Resolved, By the House of Representatives of the United States of America, that it is the duty of the House to declare, and this House does hereby solemnly declare, that Samuel J. Tilden, of the State of New York, received 196 electoral votes for the office of President of the United States, all of which votes were cast and lists thereof signed, certified, and transmitted to the seat of government, directed to the president of the Senate, in conformity with the Constitution and laws of the United States, by electors legally eligible and qualified as such electors, each of whom had been duly appointed and elected, in the manner directed by the Legislature of the State in and for which he cast his vote as aforesaid; and that said Samuel J. Tilden, having thus received the votes of a majority of the electors appointed as aforesaid, he was thereby duly elected President of the United States of America for the term of four years, commencing on the 4th day of March, A.d. 1877.
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SJT Friday Fact, (Thanks, DM)
Last week we looked at a piece of the House proclamation that declared SJT president.So…game over – Tilden wins!!!
Not so much
Democrats lost 27 seats in the November elections but still held a 19 seat majority in the House. Therefore, the proclamtion SOUNDED nice but had no teeth. In fact, the proclamation was more of a protest to counter what had already happened.
In an attempt to fairly award the presidency in an election rife with fraud, tampering, and voter intimidation, congress began the process of creating a 15 member commission to award the disputed 20 electoral votes to either Rutherford B. Hayes or Samuel J. Tilden. The planned breakdown for the commission looked like this: five members would come from the house, five from the Senate, and five from the Supreme Court. In the two houses, the majority party would choose three of the five members. The Supreme Court would split its members in a similar fashion, which would create a final result of seven Democrats, seven Republicans, and one Independent.
And here is where the story gets interesting….
All seven Republicans were committed to Hayes and all seven Democrats were committed to Tilden. The presidential election of 1876 would be placed upon the shoulders of this man:
Judge Davis was known as a long time Independent whose only party affiliation had been to help Lincoln with his 1860 campaign in Illinois.(He was nominated to the Supreme Court through a recess appointment by Lincoln in 1862.) John Bigelow, SJT’s friend and biographer claimed that “no one, perhaps even Davis himself, knew which presidential candidate he preferred.”
This would have been the first and only time ONE MAN could decide who would be president.
Except…the Democrats decided to take a gamble
While the bill to create the 15 member commission was making its way through Congress, the Illinois State Legislature elected Judge Davis to the Senate (remember, this was before the 17th Amendment passed). Democrats believed that this show of support for Davis would result in an eighth vote for Tilden in the commission.
What happened next caught them off guard and virtually destroyed any chance of victory.
Davis resigned from the Supreme Court and became a senator on March 4th. Justice Joseph Philo Bradley, a Republican, became the final member of the commission and all the proceeding votes split along party lines. On March 5th, Rutherford B. Hayes became the 19th president of the United States