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History

To Rig Or Not To Rig An Election

Everyone knows that this presidential election will be one of the most contentious in U.S. History.

The ideologies are extremely different: Donald Trump wants to bring back the lost industrial base to the United States while Hillary Clinton wants to continue the policies of the Obama administration and add a few tweaks of her own to stimulate the economy.

Considering the political divide between these two and their followers, gridlock will remain and nothing will actually get accomplished.

At the moment, the big issue is the accusations of the election being rigged. Are the Russians out to help Trump? Are Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Donna Brazille pulling strings to help Clinton again, like during the primaries?

Whatever you believe, or if any of the above should be believed, come next Tuesday there may be some serious problems regardless of who wins. Alternative media websites all over the internet are reporting that the losing side is set to start havoc and violence. And to add to that, these same websites are also reporting that police, and even the military, are ready to put a stop to it if violence does break out.

If any of this is true, it’s safe to say you might want to arm yourself with more than just a broom stick and a slingshot.

This election isn’t the first to be this controversial. And it won’t be the first to be rigged, that is, if this one is rigged.

The election of 1876 was the most corrupted election in U.S. history. The Southern states, all finally accepted back into the union after the Civil War, were fighting against the Reconstruction policy of the Radical Republicans. The Democrats nominated Samuel Tilden, a New Yorker who won all of the Southern states and a few from the North.

At the time the majority of electoral votes needed was 185. And Tilden seemed to have 203. But hold on; accusations of corruption and fraud put an end to Tilden’s momentum, and the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes still had a chance to win. The vote tallies in three states – South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida – were questionable. The majority of votes went Democratic in these states, but voter intimidation kept African-Americans from voting. In these days, blacks predominantly voted Republican, and in two of the three states mentioned above, African-Americans were the majority.

Here’s one example: in one Louisiana parish 1,688 people voted republican during the mid-term elections of 1874. For the presidential election two years later, that same parish recorded one Republican vote. Does anyone smell a rat yet?

In January, 1877, an electoral commission, comprised of members of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Supreme Court, was created to investigate and come up with a solution. Eventually, the commission decided in favor of Hayes, awarding him all of the electoral votes from the disputed states for a score of 185-184.

In what became known as the Compromise of 1877, the Republicans won the presidency while the Southern Democrats finally saw the end of the Reconstruction era after the Civil War.

 The irony here was that both candidates campaigned on a policy of fighting corruption thanks to the dirt that smeared the Ulysses Grant Administration, which some historians have credited as the most corrupt.

Does anyone out there think that this era’s Democrats and Republicans will fight to end corruption? As long as both sides of the fence are getting rich at taxpayer’s expense, probably not.

 

Sources:
  1. Ordeal by Fire, by James McPherson
  2. The American Nation, by John Garraty and Robert McCaughey

About pm

Teacher, writer, and freedom lover.

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