United States presidential election, 1872

United States presidential election, 1872

Infobox Election
election_name = United States presidential election, 1872
country = United States
type = presidential
ongoing = no
previous_election = United States presidential election, 1868
previous_year = 1868
next_election = United States presidential election, 1876
next_year = 1876
election_date = November 5, 1872

nominee1 = Ulysses S. Grant| party1 = Republican Party (United States)
home_state1 = Illinois
running_mate1 = Henry Wilson
electoral_vote1 = 286
states_carried1 = 31
popular_vote1 = 3,598,235
percentage1 = 55.6%

nominee2 = Horace Greeley
party2 = Liberal Republican Party (United States)
home_state2 = New York
running_mate2 = Benjamin Gratz Brown
electoral_vote2 = 3/66
states_carried2 = 6
popular_vote2 = 2,834,761
percentage2 = 43.8%


map_size = 350px
map_caption = Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Grant/Wilson, blue denotes those won by Greeley, avocado denotes those won by Hendricks, and the various shades of green denote those won by Brown, Jenkins and Davis. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

title = President
before_election = Ulysses S. Grant
before_party = Republican Party (United States)
after_election = Ulysses S. Grant
after_party = Republican Party (United States)

In the United States presidential election of 1872, incumbent President Ulysses S. Grant, leader of the Radical Republicans, was easily elected to a second term in office with Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts as his running mate, despite a split within the Republican Party that resulted in a defection of many Liberal Republicans to opponent Horace Greeley. The other major political party, the Democratic Party, also nominated the candidates of the Liberal Republican ticket that year.

On November 29, 1872, after the popular vote but before the electoral college cast its votes, Greeley died. As a result, electors previously committed to Greeley voted for four different candidates for President, and eight different candidates for Vice President. Greeley himself received three posthumous electoral votes, but these votes were disallowed by Congress.


Republican Party nomination

Republican candidates

* Ulysses S. Grant, President of the United States from Illinois

Candidates gallery

President Grant was unanimously renominated for a second term by the convention's 752 delegates. Vice President Colfax however narrowly missed renomination, garnering 321.5 delegates but falling short of Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson's 399.5.

The Liberal platform called for an end to the hatreds of Civil War and Reconstruction (sections 2 and 3), demanded civil service reform to curb corruption (section 5), and hedged on the tariff issue (section 6).

We, the Liberal Republicans of the United States in National Convention assembled at Cincinnati, proclaim the following principles as essential to just government.:First: We recognize the equality of all men before the law, and hold that it is the duty of Government in its dealings with the people to mete out equal and exact justice to all of whatever nativity, race, color, or persuasion, religious or political.:Second: We pledge ourselves to maintain the union of these States, emancipation, and enfranchisement, and to oppose any re-opening of the questions settled by the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. :Third: We demand the immediate and absolute removal of all disabilities imposed on account of the Rebellion, which was finally subdued seven years ago, believing that universal amnesty will result in complete pacification in all sections of the country.:Fourth: Local self-government, with impartial suffrage, will guard the rights of all citizens more securely than any centralized power. The public welfare requires the supremacy of the civil over the military authority, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus. We demand for the individual the largest liberty consistent with public order; for the State, self-government, and for the nation a return to the methods of peace and the constitutional limitations of power.:Fifth: The Civil Service of the Government has become a mere instrument of partisan tyranny and personal ambition and an object of selfish greed. It is a scandal and reproach upon free institutions and breeds a demoralization dangerous to the perpetuity of republican government. We therefore regard such thorough reforms of the Civil Service as one of the most pressing necessities of the hour; that honesty, capacity, and fidelity constitute the only valid claim to public employment; that the offices of the Government cease to be a matter of and patronage, and that public station become again a post of honor. To this end it is imperatively required that no President shall be a candidate for re-election.:Sixth: We demand a system of Federal taxation which shall not unnecessarily interfere with the industry of the people, and which shall provide the means necessary to pay the expenses of the Government economically administered, the pensions, the interest on the public debt, and a moderate reduction annually of the principal thereof; and, recognizing that there are in our midst honest but irreconcilable differences of opinion with regard to the respective systems of Protection and Free Trade, we remit the discussion of the subject to the people in their Congress Districts, and to the decision of Congress thereon, wholly free of Executive interference or dictation.:Seventh: The public credit must be sacredly maintained, and we denounce repudiation in every form and guise.:Eighth: A speedy return to specie payment is demanded alike by the highest considerations of commercial morality and honest government.:Ninth: We remember with gratitude the heroism and sacrifices of the soldiers and sailors of the Republic, and no act of ours shall ever detract from their justly-earned fame or the full reward of their patriotism. :Tenth: We are opposed to all further grants of lands to railroads or other corporations. The public domain should be held sacred to actual settlers. :Eleventh: We hold that it is the duty of the Government, in its intercourse with foreign nations to cultivate the friendship of peace, by treating with all on fair and equal terms, regarding it alike dishonorable either to demand what is not right, or to submit to what is wrong.:Twelfth. For the promotion and success of these vital principles and the support of the candidates nominated by this Convention, we invite and cordially welcome the co-operation of all patriotic citizens, without regard to previous affiliations.

Democratic Party nomination

Democratic candidates

* Horace Greeley, former U.S. representative from New York
* Jeremiah S. Black, former U.S. Secretary of State from Pennsylvania
* Thomas F. Bayard, U.S. senator from Delaware
* William S. Groesbeck, former U.S. representative from Ohio

Candidates gallery

The Democrats also nominated the Greeley/Brown ticket at the 1872 Democratic National Convention. [cite book | title = Official Proceedings of the National Democratic Convention, Held at Baltimore, July 9, 1872 | publisher = Rockwell & Churchill, Printers | date = 1872 | location = Boston | | url = http://books.google.com/books?vid=0ZLk0_BwqJCv3oLczXPOI6K&id=BxGK8fgilvMC&printsec=titlepage ] Greeley received 686 of the 724 delegate votes cast, while Brown received 713. Accepting the Liberal platform meant the Democrats had accepted the New Departure, rejecting the anti-Reconstruction platform of 1868. They realized to win they had to look forward, and not try to refight the Civil War. [Dunning 198] Also, they realized they would only split the anti-Grant vote if they nominated a candidate other than Greeley. However, Greeley's long reputation as the most aggressive attacker of the Democratic party, its principles, its leadership and its activists cooled enthusiasm for the nominee. The convention, which lasted only nine hours stretched over two days, was the shortest major political party convention in history.

Other nominations

Victoria Woodhull became the first woman to be nominated for the Presidency, running on the platform of the Equal Rights Party. Her running mate was famed abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass. Woodhull was ineligible to be President on Inauguration Day, not because she was a woman—the Constitution and the law were silent on the issue—but because she would not reach the constitutionally prescribed minimum age of 35 until September 23, 1873. Woodhull and Douglass are not listed in “Election results” below, as the ticket received a negligible percentage of the popular vote and no electoral votes.

General election


Grant's administration and his Radical supporters had been widely accused of corruption, and the Liberal Republicans demanded civil service reform and an end to the Reconstruction process including withdrawal of federal troops from the South. Both Liberal Republicans and Democrats were disappointed in their candidate Greeley. As wits asked, why turn out a knave just to replace him with a fool? [Dunning 197] A poor campaigner with little political experience, Greeley's career as a newspaper editor gave his opponents a long history of eccentric public positions to attack. With memories of his victories in the Civil War to run on, Grant was unassailable. In addition, Greeley's running mate, B. Gratz Brown, committed several gaffes due to his drinking problem. For instance, at one campaign picnic he became so drunk that he tried to butter a watermelon.Fact|date=February 2008

Women's suffrage

This was the first election after the formation of the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association in 1869. As such, protests for women's suffrage became more prevalent. In addition to the aforementioned nomination of Victoria Woodhull to the Presidency, several suffragettes would attempt to vote in the election. Susan B. Anthony was arrested and fined $100 for attempting to vote. Woodhull herself was in jail on Election Day for indecency.

Results and disputed votes

Grant won an easy re-election over Greeley by a margin of 56% to 44%. Grant won 286 electoral votes to what would have been 66 electoral votes for Greeley--but Greeley died on November 29, 1872, just twenty-four days after the election and before any of the electors from the states Greeley won (Texas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Maryland) could cast their votes. Most of Greeley's electors cast their votes for other Democrats. During the joint session of Congress for the counting of the electoral vote on February 12, 1873, numerous objections were raised to some of the results. However, unlike the objections which would be made in 1877, these had no impact on the outcome of the election. [cite book| author=United States Congress| others=42nd Congress, 3rd Session, February 12| title=Senate Journal| url=http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(sj06845))| accessdate=2006-03-23| year=1873| pages=334–346]
* The electoral votes of Arkansas and Louisiana were rejected due to irregularities. Both states had voted for Grant.
* Three Georgia electors had voted for Greeley for President. Their votes for Greeley were rejected because Greeley was dead at the time the electors had cast their ballots. Their votes for B. Gratz Brown for Vice President were not affected.
* Protests were raised against the votes of Texas, of Mississippi, and of Mississippi elector J. J. Spellman. These electoral votes were ultimately accepted.


U.S. presidential ticket box row| name=Ulysses S. Grant| party=Republican| state=Illinois| pv=3,598,235| pv_pct=55.6%| ev=286| vp_name=Henry Wilson| vp_state=MassachusettsU.S. presidential ticket box row| name=Horace Greeley| party=Democratic/Liberal Republican| state=New York| pv=2,834,761| pv_pct=43.8%| ev=—(b)| vp_count=2,834,761| vp_name=Benjamin Gratz Brown| vp_state=Missouri| vp_ev=47U.S. presidential ticket box row| name=Thomas Andrews Hendricks| party=Democratic| state=Indiana| pv=—(a)| pv_pct=—| ev=42| vp_name=—(c)| vp_state=U.S. presidential ticket box row| name=Benjamin Gratz Brown| party=Democratic/Liberal Republican| state=Missouri| pv=—(a)| pv_pct=—| ev=18| vp_name=—(c)| vp_state=U.S. presidential ticket box row| name=Charles Jones Jenkins| party=Democratic| state=Georgia| pv=—(a)| pv_pct=—| ev=2| vp_name=—(c)| vp_state=U.S. presidential ticket box row| name=David Davis| party=Liberal Republican| state=Illinois| pv=—(a)| pv_pct=—| ev=1| vp_name=—(c)| vp_state=U.S. presidential ticket box row| name=Charles O'Conor| party=Bourbon Democratic| state=New York| pv=18,602| pv_pct=0.3%| ev=0| vp_name=John Quincy Adams II| vp_state=MassachusettsU.S. presidential ticket box row| name=James Black| party=Prohibition| state=Pennsylvania| pv=5,607| pv_pct=0.1%| ev=0| vp_name=John Russell| vp_state=Michigan

Source (Popular Vote): Leip PV source| year=1872| as of=July 27, 2005

Source (Electoral Vote): National Archives EV source| year=1872| as of=July 31, 2005

(a) "These candidates received votes from Electors who were pledged to Horace Greeley."
(b) "Horace Greeley received three electoral votes, but these votes were disqualified."
(c) "See Breakdown by ticket below."

Source: National Archives EV source| year=1872| as of=July 31, 2005

Breakdown by ticket

(a) "Wikipedia's research has not yet been sufficient to determine the pairings of 4 electoral votes in Missouri; therefore, the possible tickets are listed with the minimum and maximum possible number of electoral votes each."
(b) "Greeley was disqualified, but the Brown vice-presidential votes were counted."

See also

* American election campaigns in the 19th century
* History of the United States (1865–1918)
* Third Party System
* Reconstruction era of the United States


Further reading

* Donald, David. "Charles Sumner and the Rights of Man" (1970).
* Downey, Matthew T. "Horace Greeley and the Politicians: The Liberal Republican Convention in 1872," "The Journal of American History," Vol. 53, No. 4. (Mar., 1967), pp. 727-750. [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0021-8723%28196703%2953%3A4%3C727%3AHGATPT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-B in JSTOR]
* Lunde, Erik S. "The Ambiguity of the National Idea: the Presidential Campaign of 1872" "Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism" 1978 5(1): 1-23. ISSN 0317-7904.
* McPherson, James M. "Grant or Greeley? The Abolitionist Dilemma in the Election of 1872" "American Historical Review" 1965 71(1): 43-61. [http://www.jstor.org/stable/1863035 in Jstor]
* Rhodes, James Ford. "History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896. Volume: 7 ch 39-40. " (1920)
* Ross, Earle Dudley. "The Liberal Republican Movement" (1910) [http://books.google.com/books?id=ZX2q-h-xYFcC&pg=PA202&dq=%22liberal+republicans%22+%22consent%22&lr=&num=100&as_brr=0&ei=su24SKSzAY32sgPo8pDFDg#PPA16,M1 full text online]
* Slap, Andrew L. "The Doom of Reconstruction: The Liberal Republicans in the Civil War Era" (Fordham University Press, 2006)
* Summers, Mark Wahlgren. "The Press Gang: Newspapers and Politics, 1865-1878" (1994) ch 15
* Van Deusen, Glyndon G. "Horace Greeley, Nineteenth-Century Crusader" (1953) [http://www.questia.com/read/98259668?title=Horace%20Greeley%2c%20Nineteenth-Century%20Crusader online edition]

External links

* [http://geoelections.free.fr/USA/elec_comtes/1872.htm 1872 popular vote by counties]
* [http://www.msu.edu/~sheppa28/elections.html#1872 How close was the 1872 election?] - Michael Sheppard, Michigan State University


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