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Adam Fairclough

Bulldozed and Betrayed: Louisiana and the Stolen Elections of 1876

  • Prior to the 2020 presidential election, historians considered the disputed 1876 contest--which pitted Republican Rutherford B. Hayes against Democrat Samuel J. Tilden--the most controversial in American history. Examining the work and conclusions of the Potter Committee, the congressional body tasked with investigating the vote, 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.


    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. 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.

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