Counting the Vote for President and Vice-President

Counting the Vote for President and Vice-President

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Catalog Number:16835


4.75 x 3 in.



Gallery pass to observe the joint session of Congress called to decide the disputed 1876 presidential election, 1877.

The result of the presidential election of 1876 remained in doubt until the eleventh hour, despite the fact the Samuel Tilden, the Democratic candidate, had won a popular majority. The controversy was over electoral votes in a number of states, mostly in the South, which had certified two sets of returns. Congress was left to decide how to adjudicate the matter.

A special electoral commission, consisting of five members from both houses and five Supreme Court justices (seven Democrats and eight Republicans), was created to decide which returns to accept. Several joint sessions of Congress were held for the counting the voteÑthat is, whether to accept or reject the findings of the Commission. Most of the votes were along strict party lines.

The imbroglio lasted until just three days before the inauguration, ended by what would come to be known as the Compromise of 1877: the White House would go to the Republican, in exchange for an end to Federal occupation of the South. On Monday, March 5, 1877, Rutherford B. Hayes was sworn in as president of the United States.

This is one of the original passes to the House Gallery issued during the debate. It bears facsimile signatures of the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House.

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