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Collection A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates 1774 to 1875

Presidential Elections and the Electoral College

The Proceedings of the Electoral Commission of 1877, Congressional Record - Volume 5, Part 4

This presentation highlights volume 5, part 4 of the Congressional Record. A wide variety of materials on presidential elections and the electoral college may be found in A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation. Consider using search terms including "electoral votes," "president elect," and "contested election."

Additional Library of Congress online resources related to presidential elections and the electoral college include the following Today in History pages:

  • On April 30, 1789, George Washington delivered his first inaugural address to a joint session of Congress, assembled in Federal Hall in the nation's new capital, New York City.
  • On February 17, 1801, presidential candidate Thomas Jefferson won the support of a majority of congressional Representatives, displacing incumbent John Adams.
  • In 1877, Rutherford B. Hayes, who was born on October 4, 1822, became the nineteenth U.S. president after a bitterly-contested election against Democrat Samuel J. Tilden of New York.
  • On November 5, 1844, Democratic candidate James K. Polk defeated Whig party candidate Henry Clay to become the eleventh president of the United States.
  • Americans observed the first uniform election day on November 7, 1848, in accordance with congressional legislation passed earlier that year.
  • On March 19, 1860, William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic Presidential candidate in 1896, was born. He lost the electoral college vote to William McKinley despite his diligent campaigning.
  • On Monday, March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as the sixteenth president of the United States by Chief Justice of the United States Roger B. Taney.
  • President Wilson was inaugurated to his second term on March 5, 1917. Until the passage of the Twentieth Amendment in 1933, March 4 was the official day for presidential inaugurations. U.S. Presidential Inaugurations: A Resource Guide features unique primary source materials from presidential inaugurations, 1789 to the present.

Related Information

The National Archives and Records Administration has resources on the Electoral College website.

The Committee on House Administration of the United States House of Representatives includes information on voting and election reform. There is also a webpage on the Electoral College Vote Count.

Harper's Weekly was a leading weekly newspaper and HarpWeek offers an educational website on the Electoral College Controversy of 1876-1877.