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Jonathan Earle Provides a Plausible Answer to My Question About the Crime of 1876...

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For decades now, I have been searching for a plausible answer to the question of why the Republican Party committed the Crime of 1876.

Why in 1876, in order to keep Samuel Tilden out of the White House and put Rutherford B. Hayes in, did the Republican Party strike a deal whereby it got a few disputed electoral votes--but enough to matter--and acquiesced in the permanent disenfranchisement of one million of its core voters, the African-Americans of the South? Why would a party ever voluntarily suffer such a long term loss for such a small short-term gain?

Jonathan Earle says that I have to put myself in the mindset of the Republican power-brokers of 1876. The Democrats, they had thought, had used presidential patronage to rule for a generation before the Civil War. The benefits of patronage--both in terms of jobs-for-the-boys and in terms of cementing the electoral coalition and its cadres--were so great that they could not allow the Democrats back into office to control the White House patronage machine. The Democrats would then, they thought, do to them what the Democrats had done to the Whigs in the generation before the Civil War--pile up pro-slavery (or at least anti-African American) majorities in the South, and use patronage to peel off enough support in the North from the Republicans to become America's dominant political party once again.