The Compromise of 1877 was an informal agreement that ended the turmoil surrounding the contested presidential election of 1876. Samuel J. Tilden, the Democratic candidate, won the popular vote by nearly a quarter million votes. However, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes won the electoral college. To complicate matters more, the vote counts of three southern states, Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina, were in dispute. The matter of determining the next president went unresolved for four months.
To end the uncertainty and the turmoil, a deal was struck in which the Southern Democrats in Congress agreed not to block the nomination of Hayes if federal troops were removed from Louisiana and South Carolina, the final two states that had failed to provide constitutional protections for former slaves. The Southern Democrats promised to protect the rights of African Americans. However, without the threat of intervention by federal troops, they did not uphold this part of the compromise. This essentially ended Reconstruction.
As a result of the Compromise of 1877, federal protections for African Americans in the southern United States came to an end. The Republican Party's mission of creating a nation in which former slaves found equal protection under the law in all states was now over. A long period of Jim Crow laws and legalized segregation ensued. This situation would last for nearly ninety years until federal protections were established as a result of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.