December Monthly Gathering – A Fraudulent Election? So you think there’s never been an election like 2020? Think Again!

Zoom Presentation: 7pm (EST), Saturday, December 17, 2022

Southeast Michigan Mensa will be presenting a series of Monthly Gathering lectures on Zoom through March 2023. To attend this month’s presentation, you must pre-register at the following link: https://tinyurl.com/SEMM-1222-Gathering . The event’s Zoom URL and instructions will only be sent to those who are pre-registered.

It was an election where:

  • Both political parties worked exceedingly hard to mobilize their base, and the election yielded the highest voter turnout in U.S. history.
  • Before the votes were even counted, Republicans claimed the election was being stolen. 
  • Democrats win the vote and lead in the Electoral College, but Republicans protest, contending their candidate would have won easily with honest voting.
  • Claims of fraud included, among other things, that some states reported more votes than eligible voters.
  • In several contested states party officials appointed dueling slates of electors and sent conflicting returns to Congress.

Sound familiar? Maybe so, but the year was 1876 and the winner of the election was Republican Rutherford B. Hayes.

The 1876 presidential election is the most controversial in American history. A dispute over the results led to a months-long battle that did not conclude until days before the inauguration. Historians have since debated over a potential “bargain” that took place in the final moments that settled the dispute in favor of Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes, with assurances that the federal government would end its Reconstruction efforts. Since then, and especially recently, this election has been an important reference point for many politicians and political media personalities who use it to make pronouncements on the current political landscape. Comparisons to the 2020 election are inevitable, and the 1876 election has thus been subjected to both serious, well-considered study, and politically-infused analysis. This talk will explain the events that led up to the election’s conclusion, and provide thoughts on what we know and do not know about this pivotal moment in American electoral history.

Our speaker, Dustin McLochlin, has been the historian at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums since 2017. Prior to that he worked as the education coordinator at HPLM. His work has been featured in the Presidential Quarterly, Muster of the Journal of the Civil War Era, the Toledo Blade, and the Columbus Dispatch. He also manages a monthly series on “Hayes’ Evolving Views on anti-slavery and Reconstruction.” He received his Ph.D. in the field of Policy History in 2014, and Master of Arts in History in 2008, both from Bowling Green State University. He received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Indiana University Kokomo, in 2005.