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Centennial Crisis: The Disputed Election of 1876

3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  51 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In the annals of presidential elections, the hotly contested 1876 race between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel J. Tilden was in many ways as remarkable in its time as Bush versus Gore was in ours. Chief Justice William Rehnquist offers readers a colorful and peerlessly researched chronicle of the post—Civil War years, when the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant was marked by mi ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 4th 2005 by Vintage (first published 2004)
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Nathan Albright
Aug 16, 2016 Nathan Albright rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge
As someone who, from time to time, likes to read works of legal history [1], I found this work immensely appealing on two levels. On the surface level of reading, this book is a joy to read, written by someone, namely the late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who has a good skill at crafting a narrative, and an ability to make a compelling tale of the sordid and corrupt mess of a particularly controversial election, namely that of 1876 where disputed ballot returns in Florida (among other pla ...more
David R.
Jul 16, 2013 David R. rated it liked it
Shelves: american-history
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
Keith Parrish
Jun 22, 2011 Keith Parrish rated it liked it
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
Kinksrock
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,
...more
Kristyn
Nov 14, 2007 Kristyn rated it really liked it
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
BillLan
Sep 14, 2015 BillLan rated it did not like it
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.
William
Sep 25, 2012 William rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Patrick
Sep 21, 2011 Patrick rated it liked it
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.
Bill
Jan 18, 2008 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Collins Roth
Oct 02, 2014 Collins Roth rated it it was ok
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.
Tony
May 31, 2015 Tony added it
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.
Kristyn
Kristyn rated it liked it
Aug 13, 2009
Allison
Allison rated it liked it
Jan 22, 2012
Bill Sleeman
Aug 24, 2012 Bill Sleeman rated it liked it

A solid, thoroughly researched, history of an important event in our nation’s history.
Paul Kitcho
Paul Kitcho rated it really liked it
Mar 01, 2013
Max Eichelberger
Max Eichelberger rated it really liked it
Feb 18, 2013
Ron Noble
Ron Noble rated it liked it
Aug 20, 2012
Brian S. Wise
Brian S. Wise rated it liked it
Sep 14, 2014
Rkq
Rkq rated it really liked it
Jan 24, 2010
Borhsarchives
Borhsarchives rated it really liked it
Jul 24, 2011
Stuart
Stuart rated it liked it
Jun 19, 2007
William McLoughlin
William McLoughlin rated it liked it
Mar 22, 2012
Aaron Benedict
Aaron Benedict rated it liked it
Jul 08, 2010
Greg Ecklund
Greg Ecklund rated it liked it
Mar 16, 2014
Will H
Will H rated it liked it
Aug 11, 2015
Justin Nichols
Justin Nichols rated it it was amazing
Jan 24, 2013
Suzanne
Mar 11, 2009 Suzanne rated it it was ok
Rehnquist's style is choppy, but subject matter is very interesting.
Spencer Kiggins
Spencer Kiggins rated it really liked it
Sep 01, 2016
Jodi
Jodi rated it really liked it
Jul 29, 2008
Brian S. Wise
Brian S. Wise rated it it was ok
Aug 06, 2011
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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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