The Compromise had to do with the presidential election of 1876. Rutherford Hayes, the Republicans candidate, and Samuel J. Tilden, the Democratic candidate, were about tied when it came to the electoral vote and the popular vote. The North and West states were primarily Republican, while the South was primarily Democratic. In 1876, Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina were the only three states in the South with Reconstruction-era Republican governments still in power.

Compromise map
Compromise map

The Compromise:

Rutherford Hayes met in secret with southern Democrats in order to negotiate acceptance of Hayes' election. The Democrats agreed to let Hayes win the election, but only if the Republicans withdrew federal soldier from the south. This would give Democrats control over the region. Hayes was pronounced president and inaugurated in March of 1877. This agreement between Rutherford Hayes and the southern Democrats is what is called the Compromise of 1877.

external image Rutheford-Hayes-Samuel-Tilden.jpg

Other details of the compromise:

The Republicans would:

  • Pass federal legislation that would motivate industrialization in the South.

  • Appoint Democrats to patronage positions in the South.

  • Appoint a Democrat to the president’s cabinet.


  • Republicans compromised their values for political power, losing common ground with the Democratic South.

  • Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina became Democratic states again.

  • Marked the end of the Reconstruction era.

  • "The Great Betrayal" - African American citizens were unsatisfied because efforts to assure civil rights for the African-American citizens were abandoned for a long time.

  • Era of Segregation Began

  • Industrialization of the South began.

Relation to Nationalism/Sectionalism Theme:

The Compromise of 1877 is an example of nationalism because both the Republicans and the Democrats united to benefit their own political party. Although the Republicans won the presidency, the Democrats also got what they wanted. This is also an example of nationalism because it is considered the end of Reconstruction, and started the era of the fully reconstructed United States.