United States presidential election, 1880

United States presidential election, 1880

Infobox Election
election_name = United States presidential election, 1880
country = United States
type = presidential
ongoing = no
previous_election = United States presidential election, 1876
previous_year = 1876
next_election = United States presidential election, 1884
next_year = 1884
election_date = November 2, 1880

nominee1 = James Abram Garfield
party1 = Republican Party (United States)
home_state1 = Ohio
running_mate1 = Chester Alan Arthur
electoral_vote1 = 214
states_carried1 = 19
popular_vote1 = 4,446,158
percentage1 = 48.3%

nominee2 = Winfield Scott Hancock
party2 = Democratic Party (United States)
home_state2 = Pennsylvania
running_mate2 = William Hayden English
electoral_vote2 = 155(a)
states_carried2 = 19
popular_vote2 = 4,444,260
percentage2 = 48.2%


map_size = 350px
map_caption = Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Hancock/English, Red denotes those won by Garfield/Arthur. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

title = President
before_election = Rutherford Birchard Hayes
before_party = Republican Party (United States)
after_election = James Abram Garfield
after_party = Republican Party (United States)

The United States presidential election of 1880 was largely seen as a referendum on the Republicans' relaxation of Reconstruction efforts in the southern states. There were no pressing issues of the day save tariffs, with the Republicans supporting higher tariffs and the Democrats supporting lower ones.

Incumbent President Rutherford Hayes did not seek re-election, keeping a promise made during the 1876 campaign. The Republican Party eventually chose another Ohioan, James Abram Garfield, as their standard-bearer. The Democratic Party meanwhile chose Civil War General Winfield Scott Hancock as their nominee. Despite capturing fewer than 2,000 more popular votes than Hancock, Garfield was easily elected, capturing 214 of the states' 369 electoral votes. It is to date the smallest popular vote victory in American history.


Republican Party nomination

Republican candidates

* Ulysses S. Grant, former President of the United States from Illinois
* James G. Blaine, U.S. senator from Maine
* John Sherman, U.S. senator from Ohio
* James A. Garfield, U.S. representative from Ohio

Candidates gallery

While Hayes didn't seek renomination, former President Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877) openly sought nomination to a third term. Going into the Republican Party convention in Chicago, he was the front-runner, but opponents supported a number of other candidates, including James Gillespie Blaine of Maine and Ohio's John Sherman. James Garfield, who was representing the Ohio delegation, gave a major speech in support of Sherman but soon found himself among those receiving delegate votes. On the 36th ballot, Garfield garnered 399 delegate votes, outlasting Grant (who had 313), Blaine (285) and Sherman to win the nomination. After Levi P. Morton backed out of the nomination to avoid a dispute, Chester A. Arthur was subsequently chosen as Garfield's running mate by a large margin over Elihu B. Washburne. The convention is also noteworthy as it was the first at which delegates cast votes for an African-American, Blanche Kelso Bruce.

Democratic Party nomination

Democratic candidates

* Winfield Scott Hancock, U.S. Major General from Pennsylvania
* Thomas F. Bayard, U.S. senator from Delaware
* Henry B. Payne, former U.S. representative from Ohio
* Allen G. Thurman, U.S. senator from Ohio
* Samuel J. Randall, U.S. representative from Pennsylvania

Candidates gallery

The Democratic Party convention in Cincinnati, Ohio was a wild affair, with literally dozens of names being presented as potential Presidential nominees. In the end, Civil War General Winfield Scott Hancock was nominated with 705 delegate votes, besting Thomas F. Bayard, Sr. (154), Samuel J. Randall (129), Henry B. Payne (81), Allen Granberry Thurman (69), Stephen J. Field (66), and a host of other candidates. William Hayden English was subsequently nominated as Hancock's running mate.

Greenback Labor Party nomination

Dissatisfied with the fiscal policies of both parties, the Greenback Labor Party, a minor force in the 1876 election, returned with James Baird Weaver as its Presidential nominee and Benjamin Chambers as his running mate.

American Party nomination

The mistrust of the Masonic movement had led to the creation of a new nativist political party, reusing the old name of the American Party. Former Civil War general John W. Phelps, the head of the Vermont Anti-Masonic movement, was nominated for President and former Kansas senator Samuel C. Pomeroy was nominated for Vice President.

General election


Democrats began by attacking the contested 1876 election, with Republicans bringing up the Civil War again, but the campaign soon shifted to personality. Garfield campaigned as a hard-working, self-made man. Republicans avoided direct attacks on Hancock, who was widely-respected for his service at Gettysburg, but claimed that the general would act as a figurehead for corrupt Democrats, [ [http://elections.harpweek.com/1880/cartoon-1880-Medium.asp?UniqueID=9&Year=1880 Harp Week] ] like the ones who tried to defame Garfield with the Morey letter. The Democrats campaigned on Republican corruption, attacking Garfield and especially his running mate Arthur.

The end of the effects of the Panic of 1873 combined with a well-funded and well-run campaign gave the advantage to Garfield.


Source (Popular Vote): Leip PV source| year=1880| as of=July 27, 2005

Source (Electoral Vote): National Archives EV source| year=1880| as of=July 31, 2005

(a) "See “Georgia's vote” below."

Georgia's vote

According to Article II, Section 1, clause 3 of the Constitution, “The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.” In 1792, Congress had set the date for the Electoral College to vote at the first Wednesday in December, and it was still set to that day in 1880, when it fell on December 1. However, Georgia's electors failed to cast their ballots on December 1, instead voting on the following Wednesday, December 8. Congress chose to count Georgia's vote in the official tally, but it is arguable that Georgia's electoral vote was constitutionally invalid, and thus that Hancock's electoral vote should be 144, not 155.


See also

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

External links

* [http://geoelections.free.fr/USA/elec_comtes/1880.htm 1880 popular vote by counties]
* [http://elections.harpweek.com/1880/cartoon-1880-Medium.asp?UniqueID=9&Year=1880 Harp Week]
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=ZrkJAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA1&dq=Republican+Campaign+Textbook&as_brr=1#PPR1,M1 "The Republican Campaign Textbook 1880"]
* [http://greatcaricatures.com/keppler/1880_0929_barber.shtml Caricature by Joseph Keppler of 1880 Presidential Candidates]
* [http://www.msu.edu/~sheppa28/elections.html#1880 How close was the 1880 election?] - Michael Sheppard, Michigan State University


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