Ulysses S. Grant: Politician

By William B. Hesseltine | Go to book overview

Chapter XXIV Political Free-for-All

DURING the summer of 1875, while Bristow gathered his evidence against the whiskey corruptionists, preliminary manœuvres for the campaign of 1876 got under way. From the early summer until the campaign was launched men in both political camps, at home and in Congress, girded their loins to do battle for their parties. Every hopeful politician watched developments with an eye to capitalizing the sentiment of the moment and to divining the future.

In the fall of 1875, "off-year" elections were to be held in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, and all eyes were directed to them as omens for 1876. In Ohio the Democrats nominated the aged William Allen, and adopted a platform calling for inflation. Sound money men in the East were thoroughly alarmed, and rejoiced when the Republicans stood firmly for hard money and drafted for their candidate ex- Governor Rutherford B. Hayes, who had a consistent record as a reformer. In Pennsylvania, inflation was the major issue and conservatives feared that the western districts would carry the State for cheap currency. In New York, both Republicans and Democrats stood for reform, sound money, and against a third term.

With clocklike regularity, the Southern problems arose to harass the candidates. This time it was Mississippi where disorders were great enough to attract Northern attention. In 1874 there had been riots in Vicksburg before the elections, and after the campaign Grant had felt compelled to issue a proclamation ordering lawless mobs to disperse.1 Sheridan had included the White Leagues of Mississippi in his "banditti" dispatches, and Governor Ames had had difficulty in maintaining order. As the approach of another election brought its customary intimidation and acts of mob violence, Ames appealed to Grant for Federal troops.

Grant and the party had learned a lesson from the protests of the preceding January. Although Sheridan and Wheeler had brought peace to Louisiana, renewed interference in the South would have played into the bands of the Democrats. Personally Grant would have preferred

____________________
1
Richardson, Messages, VII, 322-323, December 31, 1874.

-389-

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Ulysses S. Grant: Politician
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Table of Contents ix
  • Illustrations xiii
  • Chapter I Forty Years of Failure 1
  • Chapter II Success 19
  • Chapter III the Strategy of Peace 48
  • Chapter IV an Ear to the Ground 70
  • Chapter V Joining the Radical Church 89
  • Chapter VI Grant Acts, Seymour Talks, Blair Blows 112
  • Chapter VII Rumors of Reform 132
  • Chapter VIII the First Clash 145
  • Chapter IX "Policy Enough for the Present" 157
  • Chapter X Midsummer Fantasy 169
  • Chapter XI the End of Reconstruction 180
  • Chapter XII Tarnished Halo 190
  • Chapter XIV Smoke Screen 220
  • Chapter XV Hydra Head 238
  • Chapter XVI Political Fagots 252
  • Chapter XVII the Election of 1872 269
  • Chapter XVIII Life in the White House 291
  • Xix Public Confidence 308
  • Chapter XX Inflation or Resumption? 327
  • Chapter XXI White Supremacy 341
  • Chapter XXII Politics of Depression 359
  • Chapter XXIII a Reformer in the Cabinet 375
  • Chapter XXIV Political Free-For-All 389
  • Chapter XXV a Disturbed Exit 405
  • Chapter XXVI a Political Resurrection 424
  • Chapter XXVII Peace 444
  • Bibliography 453
  • Index 461
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