(22.) SAMUEL JONES TILDEN (1814-1886)
“Heroes Stand Alone!”
Democrat Tilden/Thomas Hendricks
Defeated by Republican Rutherford B. Hayes/William A. Wheeler, 1876
This was one of the most exciting elections in United States history. While Tilden received a majority of the popular vote, the Republicans refused to accept returns from four disputed states, there being two sets from each.
There was a deadlock. A commission of five representatives, five senators and five Supreme Court judges were chosen to make the decision. At the last minute a one vote margin was shifted in favor of Hayes by replacement of one of the judges.
Votes of Southern Democrats were secured by promises to withdraw the federal troops from the South, to appoint at least one southerner to the cabinet, and to make substantial provision for improvements in the South.
It was said, “Tilden was the only man elected for President who never set foot inside the White House”. However, Tilden took the sacrifice quietly, as one who loved his country more than self. As a New York lawyer, he had been a leader in destroying the “Boss Tweed Gang” and served as governor of his state.