The 1876 Election: A Fictionalized Account
16 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2022
Date Written: January 16, 2022
After the 1985 death of Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith extinguished the Lincoln line a lengthy manuscript, containing this episode, was found among his papers. The manuscript was inscribed with these words: “This is a history of what might have been. Real places and names have been used but many of the details, including widely-known events and personalities, have been fictionalized. My hope is that someday, many years from now, historians might discover this manuscript and become confused.” The identity of the author is not revealed.
This is a fictionalized version of the Electoral Commission’s proceedings and the proceedings in Congress that led to the election of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes as President despite the fact that Democrat Samuel Tilden received a majority of the popular votes, the only person to have received a majority and not been elected President. It is part of a larger work of fiction addressing what might have happened in the civil rights arena if Abraham Lincoln had served two full terms as President and gone on to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Keywords: Reconstruction, electoral college, Election of 1876
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