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Congress attempted to establish an impartial panel to decide the disputed Election of 1876, appointing five members of the House, five from the Senate and five justices from the Supreme Court. This commission was to be composed of seven Republicans, seven Democrats and one Independent.

The intented impartiality dissolved, however, when the Independent, Supreme Court Justice David Davis of Illinois, balked at assuming the hot seat and accepted an appointment to his state’s vacant Senate seat.

The replacement 15th member of the commission was a Republican. Not surprisingly, the final votes on the disputed ballots turned out to be eight to seven in favor of Hayes, the Republican candidate. In truth, the outcome had been engineered through the Compromise of 1877.

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1877: America's Year of Living Violently by Michael Bellesiles.
In 1877, a decade after the Civil War, not only was the United States gripped by a deep depression, but the country was also in the throes of nearly u...

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