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Centennial Crisis: The Disputed Election of 1876

3.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  49 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Near midnight on Election Day in November 1876, the returns coming into Republican National headquarters signaled a victory for the Democratic presidential candidate, Samuel J. Tilden.But alert Republican leaders saw that if all the states still doubtful or disputed went for their candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes would be elected. Word was sent out to four southern states th ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 2nd 2004 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published 2004)
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Jan 19, 2016 Kinksrock rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this book and found it very informative about the 1876 election.

Then Rehnquist loses his focus at the end, including a lengthy chapter summarizing how the U.S. Supreme Court has played an extra-judiciary role in American government throughout American history. That chapter did not seem to belong in this book. It was as though Rehnquist wrote it as an essay to justify his Court's role in the 2000 election, and he needed a place to put it. I got frustrated and bored during that chapter,
Sep 14, 2015 BillLan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Chief Justice's attempt to justify the Supreme Court's inexcusable intrusion into the 2000 election.

The fact that he wrote this book shortly before his death is evidence of a jurist who knew the Bush v. Gore opinion lacked precedent and was wrong. It is only worth reading to assess his guilt. I would say this was humorous, but it is pathetic.
David R.
The late Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote this creditable account of the election of 1876 in which disputed ballots in three southern states couldn't be resolved under the Constitution. Congress punted the question to an "Electoral Commission" that itself was a scaffolding for one man: independent Justice David Davis. Unfortunately Davis resigned to take a Senate seat and an apparently partisan vote proceeded to elect Rutherford Hayes to the presidency. Rehnquist is taking aim at those allegations ...more
Collins Roth
A tough book for anyone but a lawyer to love... the book has its moments, but was ponderous at times. The short length of the book meant the large cast of characters introduced were hard to keep track off, and so made parts confusing. But an interesting time period.
Interesting read. Lots of background on all the actors. Good epilogue discussing the merits of appointing sitting Justices to commissions and such.
I will be adding a biography of Rutherford B. Hayes to my reading list.
Keith Parrish
Straight forward and direct retelling of the disputed election of 1876 (as stated in the title). The Presidential election between Hayes and Tilden is one of the great underrated crises in American history and Rehnquist examines it and gives an overview of the sequence of events. Unfortunately, he is dry as dust in writing style and there is a lcak of depth in the analysis at least until the epilogue. But really you can't help feeling that the whole purpose of the book is to act as a metaphor fo ...more
Nov 14, 2007 Kristyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who would like further insight into the branches of government.
Shelves: historical, 2007
This book provides a great story, and shows how important party alliances have been throughout the history of our government. The president in 1876 was ultimately chosen because members of one party outnumbered their opponents on a committee. I gained a deep appreciation for how much work and research is involved on the part of supreme court justices when issuing their opinions. The author did a wonderful job, although parts of the book were over my head, I really enjoyed it and felt smarter aft ...more
Sep 25, 2012 William rated it did not like it
Rehnquist's panglossian hagiographic take on the 1876 election praises the electoral commission for coming to the correct legal decision, whilst ignoring the fact that Republicans gave the election to a Republican who had LOST THE ELECTION! This reads as nothing more than as a rationalization of his own court's electoral theft in 2000.
I found the book interesting but I didn't know much about the subject to begin with. I think that you could be disappointed if you have already read another book on the subject. Like Rehnquist's other books, it is straight to the point without too much fluff. This is worth reading if you are a fan of history or the Supreme Court.
Jan 18, 2008 Bill rated it liked it
Very readable. Couldn't avoid thinking that the book is an apology of sorts for his role in Bush v. Gore. I was interested in the role Justice David Davis played in this drama. Rehnquist's account of this issue did not satisfy.
Bill Sleeman

A solid, thoroughly researched, history of an important event in our nation’s history.
Mar 11, 2009 Suzanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rehnquist's style is choppy, but subject matter is very interesting.
Jun 14, 2011 Ross rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Disappointing.
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William Hubbs Rehnquist was an American lawyer, jurist, and a political figure who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the Chief Justice of the United States. Considered a conservative, Rehnquist favored a federalism under which the states meaningfully exercised governmental power. Under this view of federalism, the Supreme Court of the United Stat ...more
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