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    Government Since 1877

    Politics was very fragile in the post-Reconstruction era. Even though no notable legislation came out in those years, Americans paid a lot of attention to politics and national elections during the post-Reconstruction period than at any other time in history.¹  Each election had potential to disrupt the new peace and balance between the North and South. Voters were turning out in record numbers for each presidential election in the late nineteenth century. Voter turn out sometimes reached 80 percent or greater.¹

    Control of the House of Representatives was constantly changing hands between Democrats and Republicans after the Reconstruction era. There was also significant political infighting in the Republican party between Stalwart and Half-Breed factions.¹  This explains why Congress passed little significant legislation.

    1877 was an important year in American governmental history. The Compromise of 1877 was crucial for stability in America at the time. It was essentially created so that Southern Democrats would acknowledge the presidency of Hayes under the understanding that the Republicans would meet their demands.¹

    The following are the general, paraphrased terms of the Compromise¹:

    1. Removal of federal troops from former Confederate States
    2. Appointment of at least one Southern Democrat to Hayes’ cabinet
    3. Construction of another transcontinental railroad
    4. Legislation to help industrialize the South

    Since 1877, America has had 27 presidents. 16 of them have been Republicans and 11 have been Democrats.

    For specific questions about American politics, please refer to BrainMass’ section on Political Studies. This section has information on all aspects of North American governance that are specific to the time period. This includes Canada, Mexico and all of the other North American nations.



    1. America in the Gilded Age: From the Death of Lincoln to the Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. New York: New York University Press, 1993

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