Tuesday, July 20, 2004

CENTENNIAL CRISIS: THE DISPUTED ELECTION OF 1876 BY WILLIAM H. REHNQUIST

CENTENNIAL CRISIS: THE DISPUTED ELECTION OF 1876 BY WILLIAM H. REHNQUIST I wrote this book review for Ohioana Quarterly. As it fits the theme of this blog, I'll note it here.

From the review:

The presidential election of 1876 was one of the most bizarre, and controversial, elections in American history. By all appearances, Samuel Tilden won the election. However, some of the returns from the southern states were disputed. The most hotly debated state was Florida. A commission was appointed which included five Supreme Court Justices and ultimately Ohioan Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the next President of the United States of America.

The parallels of the presidential election of 1876 with the presidential election of 2000 are obvious. It is with greater irony that this book on the election of 1876 is written the sitting Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court William Rehnquist. It was his court which settled the 2000 election which also revolved around disputed votes in Florida.

Rehnquist noted this in the prologue. He wrote, “There was profound dissatisfaction with the process on the part of the losing parties in both 200 and 1876. Perhaps when such a dispute erupts, there is no means which will satisfy both sides. But for all of those whose interest in the process of electing a President was quickened the disputed election of 2000, a review of what happened in 1876 should be interesting and perhaps instructive.” (pp. 5, 6)

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