Centennial Crisis: The Disputed Election of 1876 (Paperback)

The Disputed Election of 1876

By William H. Rehnquist

Vintage, 9780375713217, 288pp.

Publication Date: January 4, 2005

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Description

In the annals of presidential elections, the hotly contested 1876 race between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel J. Tilden was in many ways as remarkable in its time as Bush versus Gore was in ours. Chief Justice William Rehnquist offers readers a colorful and peerlessly researched chronicle of the post Civil War years, when the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant was marked by misjudgment and scandal, and Hayes, Republican governor of Ohio, vied with Tilden, a wealthy Democratic lawyer and successful corruption buster, to succeed Grant as America's chief executive. The upshot was a very close popular vote (in favor of Tilden) that an irremediably deadlocked Congress was unable to resolve. In the pitched battle that ensued along party lines, the ultimate decision of who would be President rested with a commission that included five Supreme Court justices, as well as five congressional members from each party. With a firm understanding of the energies that motivated the era's movers and shakers, and no shortage of insight into the processes by which epochal decisions are made, Chief Justice Rehnquist draws the reader intimately into a nineteenth-century event that offers valuable history lessons for us in the twenty-first.


About the Author

William H. Rehnquist was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He earned his B.A. and M.A. in political science from Stanford University and a second M.A. from Harvard. He graduated first in his class at Stanford Law School in 1952. In 1969 Rehnquist became assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Office of Legal Council. He was confirmed by the Senate as an associate justice of the Supreme Court in December 1971, and took his place on the bench in January 1972. He became the sixteenth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1986.He lives in Arlington, Virginia."


Praise For Centennial Crisis: The Disputed Election of 1876

"Provocative. . . . An engaging and precise account of the bewildering political episode at once remote in time and in culture from our own contested election but strangely familiar as well." --The Washington Post

"Highly recommended. . . . Rehnquist takes the reader through the major congressional and Supreme Court debates of the 1860s and 1870s . . . fill[ing] in this tumultuous background with brisk, confident strokes. . . . He has a keen eye for good stories and quirks of character, and a forceful expository style." --The New York Sun

“An immensely readable work. . . . Rehnquist makes a convincing case.” --New York Post

"In this terrific and valuable work, Chief Justice Rehnquist re-creates one of the most dramatic presidential elections in American history. The wealth of biographical detail and the superb discussion of the intriguing issues involved bring the principal actors in this fascinating controversy to vivid life." --Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt

“As a historian Rehnquist is first-rate. The story of the Hayes-Tilden square-off of 1876 is perhaps the most surreal political imbroglio America has ever produced. And this is the most literate, judicious, and wise retelling of that bizarre election ever written.” --Douglas Brinkley, director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans

"Speak[s] pointedly to recent and current events. . . . Rich with subplots and engaging characters." --Austin American-Statesman

"Rehnquist narrates [the] events [of the 1876 election] clearly . . . [and] offers colorful portraits of the two presidential candidates and members of the Court." --The Nation

"Rehnquist hits his stride here, explaining how the commission worked and how the dispute was influenced by the concept of state sovereignty . . . and insightfully delving into the mystery of why one of the justices on the commission may have changed his mind at the last minute." --Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"An earnest book . . . [about] an intensely interesting period in American history." --Los Angeles Times

"Rehnquist takes readers behind the scenes of the controversy." --Florida Times-Union

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