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Republican Ascendancy under Grant

Grant’s victory in the Election of 1868 continued a string of Republican presidential triumphs that would persist into the 20th century, interrupted only by Grover Cleveland`s victories in 1884 and 1892. Grant was overwhelmingly returned to office in the Election of 1872, but his second administration was severely marred by a series of scandals. In 1868, the Republican Party ran under its own banner again, having run as the Union Party in 1864. With General Grant as the standard bearer, accompanied by Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax as the Vice-Presidential candidate, Grant received 52 percent of the popular vote and carried 26 states. In the electoral college, he crushed Horatio Seymour by 214 votes to 60. The 1870 mid-term elections ran decisively in favor of the Republicans, who won 149 seats in the House of Representatives to 63 for the Democrats, while holding 56 seats in the Senate to 11 for the Democrats. Not everyone was satisfied with Grant`s handling of national matters. In 1872, the Liberal Republican Party was formed, nominating Horace Greeley as did the Democratic Party. In the November election, Grant received trounced the Liberal Republican-Democratic coalition by a 5:4 margin in the popular vote, losing only six states in the electoral college. As public interest in Reconstruction waned, attention turned to the pressing economic turmoil following the Panic of 1873. Farmer and debtor groups in the West and South sought relief in the greenback movement. The mid-term 1874 elections resulted in one of the great turnarounds in American history, with the Republicans losing control of both House and Senate. A bright spot was provided by the diplomatic successes of Secretary of State Hamilton Fish.