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Custer,
who was an impetuous, headlong officer, instantly charged upon the
Indians without waiting for reinforcements.

This woeful blunder was made June 25, 1876. All that is known of it has
been obtained from the Indians themselves. They agree that Custer and
his men dashed directly among the thousands of warriors, and that they
fought with desperate heroism, but Custer and every one of his men were
killed. The number was 261. General Reno held his position at the lower
end of the encampment on the bluffs of the Little Big Horn until
reinforcements arrived. Soldiers were sent to the neighborhood, and
there was more sharp fighting. It was a long time and there was much
negotiation necessary before the Sioux could be persuaded to return to
their reservation in Dakota.

On the 4th of July, 1876, the United States was one hundred years old.
Preparations had been on foot for several years to give it a fitting
celebration. A bill was passed by Congress as early as March, 1871,
providing that an exhibition of foreign and American arts, products, and
manufactures should be held under the auspices of the government of the
United States. A centennial commission was appointed, consisting of
General Joseph R. Hawley, of Connecticut; Professor John L. Campbell, of
Indiana; Alfred T. Goshorn, of Ohio; and John L. Shoemaker, of
Pennsylvania. Naturally Philadelphia, where the Declaration of
Independence was written and signed, was selected as the most fitting
place to hold the celebration. Fairmount Park, one of the largest and
finest in the world, was set apart for the buildings.

The invitations sent to other nations were courteously accepted, the
following being those that took part: The Argentine Confederation,
Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Denmark, Ecuador,
Egypt, France (including Algeria), German Empire, Great Britain and her
colonies, Greece, Guatemala, Hawaii, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Japan,
Liberia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Orange Free State,
Persia, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Siam, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunis,
Turkey, United States of Colombia, and Venezuela.

To furnish room for the display of the myriads of articles, five
principal buildings were erected, viz.: the Main Building, 1,876 feet
long and 464 feet wide; the Art Gallery or Memorial Hall, Machinery
Hall, Agricultural Hall, and Horticultural Hall. The exhibition was
formally opened by President Grant, May 1st, and closed by him six
months later. The daily attendance began with about 5,000, but rose to
275,000 toward the close. The total number of visitors was some
10,000,000, and the total receipts, as officially given out, were
$3,761,598. The exhibition was a splendid success in every sense.


THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 1876.

Few people to-day understand the danger through which the country passed
in the autumn and winter of 1876. In June, the two great political
parties put their presidential tickets in the field. That of the
Republicans was Rutherford B. Hayes, of Ohio, and William A. Wheeler, of
New York; of the Democrats, Samuel J. Tilden, of New York, and Thomas A.
Hendricks, of Indiana. The Independent Greenback party also nominated a
ticket, at the head of which was the venerable philanthropist, Peter
Cooper, of New York, with Samuel F. Cary, of Ohio, the candidate for the
vice-presidency.

There was little difference between the platforms of the two leading
parties. The Democrats declared for _reform_ through all the methods of
the administration. The Republicans were equally loud in their calls for
the reform of every political abuse, and for the punishment of any and
all who made wrongful use of political offices. They also insisted that
the rights of the colored men should be safeguarded, and denounced the
doctrine of State sovereignty, of which there was little to be feared,
since it had been effectually killed by the war.

The Greenbackers made considerable stir. They also used the shibboleth
of reform, but put the currency question before all others. Although the
government was committed to the redemption of the national legal-tenders
and bonds in gold, the Greenbackers insisted that this was impossible,
and was also unjust to the debtor class. They claimed, further, that it
was the duty of the government to provide a national paper currency,
based not on specie, but on bonds bearing a low rate of interest. The
Republicans and Democrats maintained that the government could not
abrogate its promises of redeeming the currency and bonds in gold.

The Greenback party polled 81,740 votes, the Prohibition 9,522, and the
American 2,636, none gaining an electoral vote. For several days after
the November election, it was generally believed that the Democrats had
been successful, though a few Republican papers, notably the _New York
Times_, persistently claimed that the Republican ticket had been
successful.

[Illustration: MEMORIAL HALL OF 1876.]

There was a dispute in four States. In Louisiana, the returning board
threw out the returns from several parishes on the ground of
intimidation and fraud, thereby placing 4,000 majority to the credit of
the Republicans. The Democrats insisted that the rejected votes should
be counted, and, had it been done, Tilden would have been elected.

In South Carolina, two bodies claimed to be the legal Legislature and
both canvassed the returns, one giving a plurality of 800 to the
Republican ticket and the other a smaller majority to the Democratic.
Precisely the same wrangle occurred in Florida, where each side claimed
a majority of about a hundred. Matters were still more complicated in
Oregon, where a Republican elector was declared ineligible, because he
held the office of postmaster at the time he was chosen elector. The
governor proposed to withhold the certificate from him and give it to a
Democrat. Had everything claimed by the Republicans been conceded, they
would have had 185 and the Democrats 184. It was necessary, therefore,
for the Republicans to maintain every point in order to secure their
President, for it was beyond dispute that Tilden had received 184
electoral votes. On the popular vote, he had 4,284,885 to 4,033,950 for
Hayes. Each party charged the other with fraud, and thousands of
Democrats were so incensed at what they believed was a plot to cheat
them out of the presidency that they were ready to go to war. Had they
done so, it would have been the most terrible peril that ever came upon
the Republic, for the war would not have been one section against the
other, but of neighborhood against neighborhood throughout the land.

[Illustration: SAMUEL J. TILDEN (1814-1886.)]

As if nothing in the way of discord should be lacking, the Senate was
Republican and the House Democratic. The election being disputed, it
fell to them to decide the question--something they would never do,
since they were deadlocked. This was so apparent that thoughtful men saw
that some new and extraordinary means must be found to save the country
from civil war.

Congress, after long and earnest discussion, passed a bill creating an
Electoral Commission, to which it was agreed to submit the dispute. This
commission was to consist of fifteen members, five to be appointed by
the House, five by the Senate, and the remaining five to consist of
judges of the Supreme Court.

The Senate being Republican, its presiding officer, the Vice-President,
named three Republicans and two Democrats; the House naturally appointed
three Democrats and two Republicans; while of the Supreme Court, three
were Republicans and two Democrats. This, it will be noted, gave to the
commission eight Republicans and seven Democrats. The body by a strict
party vote decided every dispute in favor of the Republicans, and on the
2d of March, 1877, two days before inauguration, Rutherford B. Hayes was
decided President-elect of the United States.

[Illustration: THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION WHICH DECIDED UPON THE ELECTION
OF PRESIDENT HAYES.

Composed of three Republican and two Democratic Senators, three
Democratic and two Republican Representatives, three Republican and two
Democratic Justices of the Supreme Court; total, eight Republicans and
seven Democrats. By a strict party vote the decision was given in favor
of Mr. Hayes, who, two days later, March 4, 1877, was inaugurated
President of the United States.]




CHAPTER XX.

ADMINISTRATIONS OF HAYES, GARFIELD, AND ARTHUR, 1877-1885.

R.B. Hayes--The Telephone--Railway Strikes--Elevated Railroads--War with
the Nez Perce Indians--Remonetization of Silver--Resumption of Specie
Payments--A Strange Fishery Award--The Yellow Fever Scourge--Presidential
Election of 1878--James A. Garfield--Civil Service Reform--Assassination
of President Garfield--Chester A. Arthur--The Star Route Frauds--The
Brooklyn Bridge--The Chinese Question--The Mormons--Alaska Exploration
--The Yorktown Centennial--Attempts to Reach the North Pole by Americans
--History of the Greely Expedition.


THE NINETEENTH PRESIDENT.

[Illustration: RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES (1823-1893) One term,
1877-1881.]

Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born in Delaware County, Ohio, October 4,
1822, and was graduated from Kenyon College at the age of twenty years.
In 1845 he completed his legal studies at Harvard University, and
practiced law, first at Marietta, in his native State, then at Fremont,
and finally in Cincinnati. He entered the military service, at the
beginning of the war, as major, and rose to the rank of brevet
major-general. His career as a soldier was creditable. While still in
the service, in 1864, he was elected to Congress, and was governor of
Ohio in 1867, 1869, and again in 1875. His popularity as chief
magistrate of one of the leading States led to his nomination to the
presidency, to which, however, it must be conceded, he had not a clear
title. He died at Fremont, Ohio, January 17, 1893.

President Hayes proved his desire to strengthen the fraternal feeling
between the North and South by appointing as a member of his cabinet
David McKey, his postmaster-general.



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