Disputed Presidential Election

The most disputed presidential election in US history before the Bush-Gore race in 2000 was the 1876 campaign between the Democratic Governor of New York, Samuel Tilden, and the Republican Governor of Ohio , Rutherford B. Hayes.  Tilden won 184 electoral votes, one short of the majority he needed to win.  He also had a majority of the popular vote.  The votes of Louisiana , Florida , South Carolina and Oregon were in dispute in what was, like many elections, marked by fraud and violence. 

The Republican Party decided to fight for the presidency.  For weeks it refused to concede to the Democratic Party candidate.  Eventually a deal was struck in Congress.  Southern Democrats agreed to accept Hayes if he would withdraw federal troops from the South. 

When Congress officially counted electoral votes in February 1877, the electoral commission decided to award the disputed votes in Florida to Hayes.  At this point, the Democrats had a choice either to keep fighting, or to agree to what was called the Compromise of 1877, which would permit Hayes to be made president.  They agreed to accept the deal. 

Hayes was inaugurated on March 5, 1877 and soon withdrew the federal troops from the South, bringing Reconstruction to an end.