#396 Samuel Tilden and the Presidential Election of 1876


Manage episode 341327665 series 2790521
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You may have heard about the messy, chaotic and truly horrible presidential election of 1876 -- pitting Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford B Hayes -- but did you know that New York City plays a huge role in this moment in American history?

Tilden, the governor of New York, was a political superstar, a reformer famous for taking down Boss Tweed and the corrupt machinations of Tammany Hall. From his home in Gramercy Park, the extremely wealthy governor could kept himself updated on the election by a personal telegraph line.

In a way, the presidential election came to him -- or at least to his neighborhood. The Democratic national headquarters sat only a few blocks south, while the Republican national headquarters made the Fifth Avenue Hotel (off Madison Square) its home.

All this would have made the 1876 national election somewhat unusual already -- New York City seemed to be at the center of it -- but the strange series of events spawned by a most contentious Election Day would send the entire country into pandemonium.

Not only was democracy itself on the line, but the fate of Reconstruction was also at stake. As were the rights of thousands of Black Southerners.

How did shadowy events which occurred at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in the early morning hours of November 8, 1876, change the course of American history? How did a flurry of telegrams and months of political chicanery cause an end to the country's post-Civil War ambitions?

FEATURING: A visit to Tilden's mansion on Gramercy Park, now the home of the National Arts Club!

PLUS: How was Daniel Sickles involved here?



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