History of the United States eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 731 pages of information about History of the United States.

All of them possessed, moreover, another important asset, which was not forgotten by the astute managers who led in selecting candidates.  All of them were from Ohio—­though Grant had been in Illinois when the summons to military duties came—­and Ohio was a strategic state.  It lay between the manufacturing East and the agrarian country to the West.  Having growing industries and wool to sell it benefited from the protective tariff.  Yet being mainly agricultural still, it was not without sympathy for the farmers who showed low tariff or free trade tendencies.  Whatever share the East had in shaping laws and framing policies, it was clear that the West was to have the candidates.  This division in privileges—­not uncommon in political management—­was always accompanied by a judicious selection of the candidate for Vice President.  With Garfield, for example, was associated a prominent New York politician, Chester A. Arthur, who, as fate decreed, was destined to more than three years’ service as chief magistrate, on the assassination of his superior in office.

=The Disputed Election of 1876.=—­While taking note of the long years of Republican supremacy, it must be recorded that grave doubts exist in the minds of many historians as to whether one of the three Presidents, Hayes, was actually the victor in 1876 or not.  His Democratic opponent, Samuel J. Tilden, received a popular plurality of a quarter of a million and had a plausible claim to a majority of the electoral vote.  At all events, four states sent in double returns, one set for Tilden and another for Hayes; and a deadlock ensued.  Both parties vehemently claimed the election and the passions ran so high that sober men did not shrink from speaking of civil war again.  Fortunately, in the end, the counsels of peace prevailed.  Congress provided for an electoral commission of fifteen men to review the contested returns.  The Democrats, inspired by Tilden’s moderation, accepted the judgment in favor of Hayes even though they were not convinced that he was really entitled to the office.


=Abuses in American Political Life.=—­During their long tenure of office, the Republicans could not escape the inevitable consequences of power; that is, evil practices and corrupt conduct on the part of some who found shelter within the party.  For that matter neither did the Democrats manage to avoid such difficulties in those states and cities where they had the majority.  In New York City, for instance, the local Democratic organization, known as Tammany Hall, passed under the sway of a group of politicians headed by “Boss” Tweed.  He plundered the city treasury until public-spirited citizens, supported by Samuel J. Tilden, the Democratic leader of the state, rose in revolt, drove the ringleader from power, and sent him to jail.  In Philadelphia, the local Republican bosses were guilty of offenses as odious as those committed by New York politicians.  Indeed, the decade that followed the Civil War was marred by so many scandals in public life that one acute editor was moved to inquire:  “Are not all the great communities of the Western World growing more corrupt as they grow in wealth?”

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History of the United States from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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