United States presidential election, 1872

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United States presidential election, 1872
United States
1868 ←
November 5, 1872 → 1876

All 352 electoral votes of the Electoral College
177 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout 71.3%[1]
  UlyssesGrant.png HoraceGreeley.png
Nominee Ulysses S. Grant Horace Greeley
Party Republican Liberal Republican
Home state Illinois New York
Running mate Henry Wilson Benjamin G. Brown
Electoral vote 286 3 (66 elected)
States carried 31 6
Popular vote 3,598,235 2,834,761
Percentage 55.6% 43.8%

ElectoralCollege1872.svg

Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Grant/Wilson, blue denotes those won by Greeley, yellow denotes those won by Hendricks, and the various shades of green denote those won by Brown, Jenkins and Davis; this reflects the posthumous scattering of Greeley's electoral votes. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Ulysses S. Grant
Republican

Elected President

Ulysses S. Grant
Republican

The United States presidential election of 1872 was the 22nd quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 5, 1872. The incumbent President Ulysses S. Grant 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 of the Democratic Party, which 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. The election was the first in which every competing state used a popular vote to determine its electors; since 1832, South Carolina had been the lone state to decide electors by the state legislature. Florida's legislature had decided its electors in 1868. Also, it is so far the only election in which a presidential candidate died during the electoral process.

Nominations[edit]

Republican Party nomination[edit]

At the 1872 Republican National Convention the Republicans nominated President Ulysses S. Grant for reelection, but nominated Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts for Vice President, instead of the incumbent Schuyler Colfax, who was implicated in the Credit Mobilier scandal. Others, who had grown weary of the corruption of the Grant administration, bolted to form the Liberal Republican Party.

The oppostion fusion nominations[edit]

Liberal Republican campaign poster

In order to better defeat Grant, a bipartisan fusion ticket was resorted to.

Liberal Republican Party nomination[edit]

An influential group of dissident Republicans split from the party to form the Liberal Republican Party in 1870. At the party's only national convention, held in Cincinnati in 1872, New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley was nominated for President on the sixth ballot, defeating Charles Francis Adams. Missouri Governor Benjamin Gratz Brown was nominated for vice-president on the second ballot.

Democratic Party nomination[edit]

The 1872 Democratic National Convention met in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 9–10. Because of its strong desire to defeat Ulysses S. Grant, the Democratic Party also nominated the Liberal Republican's Greeley/Brown ticket[2] and adopted their platform.[3] Greeley received 686 of the 732 delegate votes cast, while Brown received 713. Accepting the Liberal platform meant the Democrats had accepted the New Departure, which rejected the anti-Reconstruction platform of 1868. They realized that to win the election they had to look forward, and not try to re-fight the Civil War.[4] 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, and there was a sizable minority lead by James A. Bayard which had sought to act independent of the Liberal Republican ticket. The convention, which lasted only six hours stretched over two days, was the shortest major political party convention in history.

Other nominations[edit]

Labor Reform Party[edit]

Presidential Candidates:

The Labor Reform Party had only been organized in 1870, with the first (and only) National Convention meeting in St. Louis Missouri on February 22, 1872. Initially there was a fair amount of discussion as to whether the party should actually nominate anyone for the presidency at that time, or if they should wait at least for the Liberal Republicans to nominate their own ticket first; every motion to that effect lost, and a number of ballots were taken resulting in the nomination of David Davis for the Presidency, who was the frontrunner for the Liberal Republican nomination at that time. Joel Parker, the Governor of New Jersey, was nominated for the Vice Presidency.

While Davis did not decline the nomination of the Labor Reform party, he decided to hinge his campaign in large part on the success of attaining the Liberal Republican nomination so that he might at least have their resources behind them. After their convention, in which he failed to attain the nomination, Davis telegraphed the Labor Reform party and informed them of his intention to withdraw from the presidential contest entirely. Joel Parker soon followed suit.

A second convention was called on August 22 in Philadelphia, where it was decided, rather than making the same mistake again, the Party would cooperate with the now fledgling "Straight-Out Democrat" movement that had recently formed and nominate their candidate as soon as it was known whom. Unfortunately that movement's nominee, Charles O'Conor, declined to run as well. Figuring that it was now too late to nominate a ticket of their own, the Party leadership decided to continue the campaign under O'Conor's name, even if he were not actually running. The various state affiliates grew less and less active, and by the following year the party ceased to be.


Source: US President - L-Ref Convention. Our Campaigns. (August 11, 2013).

People's (Equal Rights) Party[edit]

Presidential Ticket:

The National Woman's Suffrage Association held it annual convention in New York City on May 9, 1872. Some of the delegates had been supporting Victoria Woodhull, who had spent the year since the previous NWSA annual meeting touring the New York City environs and giving speeches on why women should be allowed to vote. A year earlier, she had announced her intention to run. Also in 1871, she spoke publicly against the government being composed only of men; she proposed developing a new constitution and a new government a year thence. Five hundred delegates from 26 states and four territories who had attended the convention met in Apollo's Hall in New York City as the People's (Equal Rights) Party National Convention on May 10.

The delegates selected Victoria Woodhull to run for President, and nominated the former slave and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass for Vice President. He did not attend the convention and never acknowledged the nomination, though he would serve as a presidential elector in the United States Electoral College for the State of New York.

The Equal Rights Party operated under a serious disadvantage, its prime constituency being unable to vote. At the time, no state specifically allowed women the right to vote.

Woodhull gave a series of speeches around New York City during the campaign. Her finances were very thin, and when she borrowed money from supporters, she often was unable to repay them. As a result, most of the newspaper coverage of her campaign dealt largely with her financial woes. On the day before the election, Woodhull was arrested for "publishing an obscene newspaper" and so was unable to cast a vote for herself.

Victoria Woodhull became the first woman to be nominated for the presidency. However, 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.[5]

General election[edit]

Campaign[edit]

Grant's administration and his Radical Republican 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?"[6] 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. Grant also had a large campaign budget to work with. One historian was quoted saying, "Never before was a candidate placed under such great obligation to men of wealth as was Grant." A large portion of Grant's campaign funds came from entrepreneurs, including Jay Cooke, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Alexander Turney Stewart, Henry Hilton, and John Astor.[7]

Women's suffrage[edit]

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 afore-mentioned 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[edit]

Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage of the winning candidate in each county. Shades of red are for Grant (Republican) and shades of purple are for Greeley (Liberal Republican/Democratic).

Grant won an easy re-election over Greeley by a margin of 56% to 44%. Grant garnered 286 electoral votes to what would have been 66 electoral votes for Greeley—but Greeley died on November 29, 1872, just 24 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.

Of the 2,171 counties making returns, Grant won in 1,335 while Greeley carried 833. Three counties were split evenly between Grant and Greeley.

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.[8]

  • The electors of Arkansas and Louisiana were rejected due to irregularities.[9] They were not included in the total number of electors. 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 when the electors cast their ballots. Their votes for B. Gratz Brown for vice-president were not affected. The electors were included in the total number of electors.
  • Protests were raised against the votes of Texas, Mississippi, and of Mississippi elector J. J. Spellman. These electoral votes were ultimately accepted.

This election was the last in which Alabama and Mississippi voted for a Republican until 1964. Arkansas would not be carried by a Republican again until 1972.

Results[edit]

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote Electoral
vote
Running mate
Count Pct Vice-presidential candidate Home state Elect. vote
Ulysses S. Grant (Incumbent) Republican Illinois 3,598,235 55.6% 286 Henry Wilson Massachusetts 286
Thomas A. Hendricks Democratic Indiana (a) 42 (c) 42
Benjamin Gratz Brown Liberal Republican/ Democratic Missouri (a) 18 (c) 18
Horace Greeley Liberal Republican/ Democratic New York 2,834,761 43.8% 3(b) Benjamin Gratz Brown Missouri 3(b)
Charles J. Jenkins Democratic Georgia (a) 2 (c) 2
David Davis Liberal Republican Illinois (a) 1 (c) 1
Charles O'Conor Bourbon Democratic New York 18,602 0.3% 0 John Quincy Adams II Massachusetts 0
James Black Prohibition Pennsylvania 5,607 0.1% 0 John Russell Michigan 0
Other 10,473 0.2% 0
Total 6,467,678 100.0% 352(d)
Needed to win 177(d)

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. 1872 Presidential Election Results. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (July 27, 2005).

Source (Electoral Vote): Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (July 31, 2005).

(a) These candidates received votes from Electors who were pledged to Horace Greeley, who died before the electoral votes were cast.
(b) Horace Greeley received three electoral votes for president, but these votes were disqualified because of his death.
(c) See Breakdown by ticket below.
(d) The 14 electoral votes from Arkansas and Louisiana were not counted, and are not included in this count. If these electoral votes were included, there would be 366 electoral votes total, and 184 would be needed to win.

Popular vote
Grant
  
55.58%
Greeley
  
43.78%
O'Conor
  
0.36%
Others
  
0.27%
Electoral vote
Grant
  
81.25%
Greeley
  
18.75%

Results by state[edit]

Source: Data from Walter Dean Burnham, Presidential ballots, 1836-1892 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1955) pp 247-57.[10]

States won by Grant/Wilson
States won by Greeley/Brown
Ulysses S. Grant
Republican
Horace Greeley
Democratic/Liberal Republican
Charles O'Conor
Straight-Out Democrat
Margin State Total
State electoral
votes
#  % electoral
votes
#  % electoral
votes
#  % electoral
votes
#  % #
Alabama 10 90,272 53.19 10 79,444 46.81 - - - - 10,828 6.38 169,716 AL
Arkansas 6 41,373 52.17 0 37,927 47.83 - - - - 3,446 4.35 79,300 AR
California 6 54,007 56.38 6 40,717 42.51 - 1,061 1.11 - 13,290 13.87 95,785 CA
Connecticut 6 50,314 52.41 6 45,695 47.59 - - - - 4,619 4.81 96,009 CT
Delaware 3 11,129 51.00 3 10,205 46.76 - 488 2.24 - 924 4.23 21,822 DE
Florida 4 17,763 53.52 4 15,427 46.48 - - - - 2,336 7.04 33,190 FL
Georgia 11 62,550 45.03 - 76,356 54.97 11 - - - -13,806 -9.94 138,906 GA
Illinois 21 241,936 56.27 21 184,884 43.00 - 3,151 0.73 - 57,052 13.27 429,971 IL
Indiana 15 186,147 53.00 15 163,632 46.59 - 1,417 0.40 - 22,515 6.41 351,196 IN
Iowa 11 131,566 60.81 11 81,636 37.73 - 2,221 1.03 - 49,930 23.08 216,365 IA
Kansas 5 66,805 66.46 5 32,970 32.80 - 156 0.16 - 33,835 33.66 100,512 KS
Kentucky 12 88,766 46.44 - 99,995 52.32 12 2,374 1.24 - -11,229 -5.87 191,135 KY
Louisiana 8 71,663 55.69 0 57,029 44.31 - - - - 14,634 11.37 128,692 LA
Maine 7 61,426 67.86 7 29,097 32.14 - - - - 32,329 35.71 90,523 ME
Maryland 8 66,760 49.66 - 67,687 50.34 8 - - - -927 -0.69 134,447 MD
Massachusetts 13 133,455 69.20 13 59,195 30.69 - - - - 74,260 38.50 192,864 MA
Michigan 11 138,758 62.66 11 78,551 35.47 - 2,875 1.30 - 60,207 27.19 221,455 MI
Minnesota 5 55,708 61.27 5 35,211 38.73 - - - - 20,497 22.54 90,919 MN
Mississippi 8 82,175 63.48 8 47,282 36.52 - - - - 34,893 26.95 129,457 MS
Missouri 15 119,196 43.65 - 151,434 55.46 15 2,429 0.89 - -32,238 -11.81 273,059 MO
Nebraska 3 18,329 70.68 3 7,603 29.32 - - - - 10,726 41.36 25,932 NE
Nevada 3 8,413 57.43 3 6,236 42.57 - - - - 2,177 14.86 14,649 NV
New Hampshire 5 37,168 53.94 5 31,425 45.61 - - - - 5,743 8.33 68,906 NH
New Jersey 9 91,656 54.52 9 76,456 45.48 - - - - 15,200 9.04 168,112 NJ
New York 35 440,738 53.23 35 387,282 46.77 - - - - 53,456 6.46 828,020 NY
North Carolina 10 94,772 57.38 10 70,130 42.46 - 261 0.16 - 24,642 14.92 165,163 NC
Ohio 22 281,852 53.24 22 244,321 46.15 - 1,163 0.22 - 37,531 7.09 529,436 OH
Oregon 3 11,818 58.66 3 7,742 38.43 - 587 2.91 - 4,076 20.23 20,147 OR
Pennsylvania 29 349,589 62.07 29 212,041 37.65 - - - - 137,548 24.42 563,262 PA
Rhode Island 4 13,665 71.94 4 5,329 28.06 - - - - 8,336 43.89 18,994 RI
South Carolina 7 72,290 75.73 7 22,699 23.78 - 204 0.21 - 49,591 51.95 95,452 SC
Tennessee 12 85,655 47.84 - 93,391 52.16 12 - - - -7,736 -4.32 179,046 TN
Texas 8 47,468 40.71 - 66,546 57.07 8 2,580 2.21 - -19,078 -16.36 116,594 TX
Vermont 5 41,480 78.29 5 10,926 20.62 - 553 1.04 - 30,554 57.67 52,980 VT
Virginia 11 93,463 50.47 11 91,647 49.49 - 85 0.05 - 1,816 0.98 185,195 VA
West Virginia 5 32,320 51.74 5 29,532 47.28 - 615 0.98 - 2,788 4.46 62,467 WV
Wisconsin 10 104,994 54.60 10 86,477 44.97 - 834 0.43 - 18,517 9.16 192,305 WI
TOTALS: 366 3,597,439 55.58 286 2,833,710 43.78 66 23,054 0.36 - 763,729 11.80 6,471,983 US

Close states[edit]

Red font color denotes states won by Republican Ulysses S. Grant; blue denotes those won by Democrat/Liberal Republican Horace Greeley.

States where the margin of victory was under 5% (51 electoral votes)

  1. Maryland 0.69%
  2. Virginia 0.98%
  3. Delaware 4.23%
  4. Tennessee 4.32%
  5. Arkansas 4.35%
  6. West Virginia 4.46%
  7. Connecticut 4.81%

Margin of victory between 5% and 10% (133 electoral votes):

  1. Kentucky 5.87%
  2. Alabama 6.38%
  3. Indiana 6.41%
  4. New York 6.46%
  5. Florida 7.04%
  6. Ohio 7.09%
  7. New Hampshire 8.33%
  8. New Jersey 9.04%
  9. Wisconsin 9.16%
  10. Georgia 9.94%
Vice Presidential Candidate Party State Electoral Vote
Henry Wilson Republican Massachusetts 286
Benjamin Gratz Brown National Union Party Missouri 47
Alfred H. Colquitt Democratic Georgia 5
George Washington Julian Liberal Republican Indiana 5
Thomas E. Bramlette Democratic Kentucky 3
John M. Palmer Democratic Illinois 3
Nathaniel P. Banks Liberal Republican Massachusetts 1
William S. Groesbeck Democratic/Liberal Republican Ohio 1
Willis Benson Machen Democratic Kentucky 1
John Quincy Adams II Bourbon Democratic Massachusetts 0
John Russell Prohibition Michigan 0
Total 352
Needed to win 177

Source: Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (July 31, 2005).

Breakdown by ticket[edit]

Presidential Candidate Running Mate Electoral Vote(a)
Ulysses S. Grant Henry Wilson 286
Thomas Andrews Hendricks Benjamin Gratz Brown 41 .. 42
Benjamin Gratz Brown Alfred Holt Colquitt 5
Benjamin Gratz Brown George Washington Julian 4 .. 5
Benjamin Gratz Brown Thomas E. Bramlette 3
Horace Greeley Benjamin Gratz Brown 3 (b)
Benjamin Gratz Brown John McAuley Palmer 2 .. 3
Charles J. Jenkins Benjamin Gratz Brown 2
Benjamin Gratz Brown Nathaniel Prentiss Banks 1
Benjamin Gratz Brown Willis Benson Machen 1
Benjamin Gratz Brown William Slocum Groesbeck 0 .. 1
David Davis Benjamin Gratz Brown 0 .. 1
David Davis William Slocum Groesbeck 0 .. 1
David Davis George Washington Julian 0 .. 1
David Davis John McAuley Palmer 0 .. 1
Thomas Andrews Hendricks William Slocum Groesbeck 0 .. 1
Thomas Andrews Hendricks George Washington Julian 0 .. 1
Thomas Andrews Hendricks John McAuley Palmer 0 .. 1

(a) The used sources had insufficient data 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, having previously died and thus become ineligible for the Presidency, but the Brown vice-presidential votes were counted.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections". The American Presidency Project. UC Santa Barbara. 
  2. ^ Official Proceedings of the National Democratic Convention, Held at Baltimore, July 9, 1872. Boston: Rockwell & Churchill, Printers. 1872. 
  3. ^ Paul F. Boller, Jr. (2004). Presidential Campaigns: from George Washington to George W. Bush. Oxford University Press. pp. 128–129. ISBN 0-19-516716-3. 
  4. ^ Dunning 198
  5. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/CandidateDetail.html?CandidateID=26851
  6. ^ Dunning 197
  7. ^ Guide to U.S. Elections. Volume 1 (Fifth ed.). CQ Press. November 17, 2005. ISBN 1-56802-981-0. 
  8. ^ United States Congress (1873). Senate Journal. 42nd Congress, 3rd Session, February 12. pp. 334–346. Retrieved March 23, 2006. 
  9. ^ David A. McKnight (1878). The Electoral System of the United States: A Critical and Historical Exposition of Its Fundamental Principles in the Constitution and the Acts and Proceedings of Congress Enforcing It. Wm. S. Hein Publishing. p. 313. ISBN 978-0-8377-2446-1. 
  10. ^ "1872 Presidential General Election Data - National". Retrieved May 7, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • American Annual Cyclopedia...for 1872 (1873), comprehensive collection of facts online edition
  • Blaine, James G. (1885). Twenty Years of Congress. vol. 2. pp. 520–31.  online edition
  • Donald, David Herbert. 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. in JSTOR
  • Dunning, William Archibald (1905). Reconstruction: Political & Economic, 1865-1877. ch. 12.  online edition
  • 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. in JSTOR
  • Porter, Kirk H. and Johnson, Donald Bruce, ed. (1956). National Party Platforms, 1840–1956. 
  • Prymak, Andrew. "The 1868 and 1872 Elections," in Edward O. Frantz, ed. A Companion to the Reconstruction Presidents 1865-1881 (Wiley Blackwell Companions to American History) (2014) pp 235-56 online
  • Republican Campaign Clubs, Horace Greeley Unmasked. New York: Republican Campaign Clubs, 1872. —Campaign pamphlet.
  • 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) full text online
  • Slap, Andrew L. The Doom of Reconstruction: The Liberal Republicans in the Civil War Era (2006) online edition
  • Summers, Mark Wahlgren. The Press Gang: Newspapers and Politics, 1865-1878 (1994) ch 15
  • Summers, Mark Wahlgren. The Era of Good Stealings (1993), covers corruption 1868-1877
  • Van Deusen, Glyndon G. Horace Greeley, Nineteenth-Century Crusader (1953) online edition

External links[edit]

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