Thursday, September 16, 2021

Booknotes: Bulldozed and Betrayed

New Arrival:
Bulldozed and Betrayed: Louisiana and the Stolen Elections of 1876 by Adam Fairclough (LSU Press, 2021).

The 1876 Hayes vs. Tilden presidential race is clearly one of the most contested and controversial national elections in our history. "Examining the work and conclusions of the Potter Committee, the congressional body tasked with investigating the vote," author Adam Fairclough’s Bulldozed and Betrayed: Louisiana and the Stolen Elections of 1876 "sheds new light on the events surrounding the electoral crisis, especially those that occurred in Louisiana, a state singled out for voter intimidation and rampant fraud."

More from the description: "The Potter Committee’s inquiry led to embarrassment for Democrats, uncovering an array of bribes, forgeries, and even coded telegrams showing that the Tilden campaign had attempted to buy the presidency."

Of course, the election is most infamous for the 'corrupt bargain' that sent Hayes to the White House in exchange for the withdrawal of federal troops from the former Confederacy, a deal that essentially ended Reconstruction. More: "Testimony also exposed the treachery of Hayes, who, once installed in the White House, permitted insurrectionary Democrats to overthrow the Republican government in Louisiana that had risen to power during the early days of Reconstruction."

I don't know much about this topic, so it's unknown to me if this is the first study to most specifically look at the part of Louisiana, one of the four states involved with the 20 disputed electoral votes, in all this.


  1. A brief review of the catalogues of the LSU and State Libraries shows a book on the subject in 1928, "Louisiana in the Disputed Election of 1876," by "Fannie Bone." This looks interesting, and is probably yet another book that will show how little I actually know about the history of my native state, outside of the Civil War and the Huey Long years.

    Joel Manuel
    Baton Rouge


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