1876 Democratic National Convention
1876 presidential election
Tilden and Hendricks
Date(s)June 27–29, 1876
CitySt. Louis, Missouri
VenueMerchants Exchange Building
Presidential nomineeSamuel Tilden of New York
Vice presidential nomineeThomas Hendricks of Indiana
‹ 1872 · 1880 ›

The 1876 Democratic National Convention assembled in St. Louis just nine days after the conclusion of the Republican National Convention in Cincinnati.

This was the first political convention held west of the Mississippi River. St. Louis was notified in February 1876 that it had been selected. Among the events was a fireworks display from the top of the Old Courthouse.


The convention was called to order by Democratic National Committee chairman Augustus Schell. Henry Watterson served as the temporary convention chairman and John Alexander McClernand, a retired congressman and major general, served as permanent convention president.


The Democratic platform pledged to replace the corruption of the Grant administration with honest, efficient government and to end "the rapacity of carpetbag tyrannies" in the South; called for treaty protection for naturalized U.S. citizens visiting their homeland, restrictions on Oriental immigration, and tariff reform; and opposed land grants to railroads.[1]

Presidential nomination

Presidential candidates

Interior of the Merchants Exchange Building of St. Louis, Missouri, during the announcement of Samuel J. Tilden as the Democratic presidential nominee

The 12th Democratic National Convention assembled in St. Louis in June 1876. Five thousand people jammed the auditorium in St. Louis, hoping for the Democrats' first presidential victory in 20 years. The platform called for immediate and sweeping reforms following the scandal-plagued Grant administration.

Six names were placed in nomination: Samuel J. Tilden, Thomas A. Hendricks, Winfield Scott Hancock, William Allen, Thomas F. Bayard, and Joel Parker. Tilden won more than 400 votes on the first ballot, a strong showing, but less than the 492 required by the convention's two-thirds rule. He won the nomination by a landslide on the second ballot. Although Tilden was strongly opposed by "Honest John" Kelly, the leader of New York's Tammany Hall, he was still able to obtain the nomination. According to contemporary accounts, Tilden's nomination was received by the delegates with more enthusiasm than that of any nominee since Andrew Jackson.[2]

Presidential Ballot[3]
1st (Before Shifts) 1st (After Shifts) 2nd (Before Shifts) 2nd (After Shifts) Unanimous
Tilden 403.5 410.5 508 534 738
Hendricks 133.5 140.5 85 60 0
Hancock 77 77 60 59 0
Allen 56 56 54 54 0
Bayard 31 31 11 11 0
Broadhead 19 5 0 0 0
Parker 18 18 18 18 0
Thurman 0 0 2 2 0

Source: Official proceedings of the National Democratic convention, held in St. Louis, Mo., June 27th, 28th and 29th, 1876. (September 3, 2012).

Vice presidential nomination

Vice presidential candidates

Tilden/Hendricks campaign poster

Delegates proposed various potential candidates for vice president, including William R. Morrison of Illinois, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.[3] The Ohio delegation considered nominating U.S. Representative Henry B. Payne.[3] However, the feeling of unanimity was so great that the Ohio delegates instead seconded the nomination of Hendricks.[3] Hendricks was the only nominee, and won the nomination nearly unanimously on the first ballot, with the only exceptions being eight abstentions from Ohio.[3]

Vice Presidential Ballot
Candidate 1st
Hendricks 730
Blank 8

Source: Official proceedings of the National Democratic convention, held in St. Louis, Mo., June 27th, 28th and 29th, 1876. (September 3, 2012).

See also


  1. ^ William DeGregorio, The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Gramercy 1997
  2. ^ They Also Ran
  3. ^ a b c d e Cook, Theodore Pease (1876). The Life and Public Services of Hon. Samuel J. Tilden. New York, NY: D. Appleton and Company. p. 327 – via Google Books.

Further reading

Primary sources


Preceded by
Baltimore, Maryland
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
Cincinnati, Ohio