|Title||Washington. D.C.—The Electoral Commission in Session in the United States Supreme Court Room, February 2d—The Hon. David Dudley Field Opening the Florida Case on Behalf of the Tilden Objectors.|
|Medium||Wood engraving, black and white|
|Dimensions||h. 14.5 x w. 20.125 in. (h. 36.83 x w. 51.1175 cm)|
|Credit Line||U.S. Senate Collection|
The country faced a major electoral challenge with the disputed Hayes-Tilden presidential election of 1876. While Democratic candidate Samuel J. Tilden won the popular vote by a margin of 250,000, the Electoral College ballots of four states were called into question. To resolve the dispute, Congress created a special electoral commission to review the ballots and determine the outcome of the election. The 15-member commission held its first public hearing on February 1, 1877, in the Capitol’s Old Senate Chamber (then serving as the Supreme Court’s meeting place). Throughout the month-long hearings, the room was packed with spectators expecting high drama and great oratory. The press followed the proceedings closely, providing up-to-the-minute coverage for the anxious nation. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper and Harper’s Weekly both covered the event in depth and included numerous engravings in their publications, such as the one shown here. According to the findings of the commission, Rutherford B. Hayes received all of the disputed electoral votes, and Congress declared him the victor on March 2, 1877, just two days before his term began.