What impact did the presidential election of 1876 have on the Reconstruction movement?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The presidential election of 1876 greatly impacted the Reconstruction movement. In this election, Samuel Tilden ran for the Democratic Party, and Rutherford B. Hayes ran for the Republican Party. The results of the election were disputed in four states. As a result, no candidate received the 185 electoral votes needed to win the election. An independent commission was created to resolve the dispute, but it failed to do so. Eventually, a compromise was reached known as the Compromise of 1877. In the compromise, Hayes received the electoral votes in the states where the results were disputed. This gave Hayes the presidency. In return, the federal troops that were enforcing Reconstruction were removed from the South.

Once the federal troops left the South, Reconstruction ended. The improvements that had been made for the African Americans were eventually undone. Jim Crow laws created legalized segregation in the South, and methods were developed to deny African Americans the right to vote. The poll tax and the literacy test were examples of methods that were used to prevent African Americans from voting in the South. The Democratic Party returned to power in the South once Reconstruction ended. White southerners began to control the South again. African Americans were threatened, intimidated, harassed, and killed by groups that were against them.

The election of 1876 led to an end to Reconstruction, which had many negative consequences for African Americans living in the South.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Basically, the election of 1876 put an end to the Reconstruction movement.

In this election, neither the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, and the Democratic candidate, Samuel Tilden, gained a clear cut victory.  Tilden won the popular vote, but there was a dispute over the electoral votes of four states.  An electoral commission was eventually created to resolve the impasse.  The commission ended up declaring Hayes the winner but it is widely believed that a deal was made in which Reconstruction was ended in exchange for the Republicans getting the presidency.

After this election, Reconstruction ended and it is generally said that the end came as a result of the deal that resolved this disputed election.