Topics in History: Presidential Election of 1872


This topic in history and the related online primary sources are brought to you by the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, a free online resource of primary sources.

1872

From Colorado Daily Chieftain, July 9, 1872

Presidential Election of 1872

Presidential elections are often filled with interesting candidates and sometimes party conflicts.  The presidential election of 1872 was no different.  This election included numerous presidential nominees, one of which was a woman and another was nominated by two different parties.  Incumbent President Ulysses S. Grant was nominated to run for a second term at the Republican National Convention held in June 1872. Grant’s nomination caused many in the Republican Party,  who had grown weary of his corruption plagued first term, to split from the party and form the Liberal Republican Party.

horace-greeley-baker

Horace Greeley

The Liberal Republican Party nominated famed newspaper editor Horace Greeley who was also nominated by the Democratic Party in a combined effort to defeat Grant.  The 1872 ticket also included Equal Rights Party nominee, Victoria Woodhull. It’s unclear how many votes Woodhull received but her bid came nearly 50 years before women were given the right to vote. Ultimately, Woodhull was ineligible to become president, not because the law prohibited a female president but because she would not reach the constitutionally prescribed minimum age of 35 until September 23, 1873.

On November 29, 1872, after the popular vote but before the Electoral College cast its votes, Greeley died. As a result, his electoral votes were split among the other candidates. It is so far the only election in which a Presidential candidate died during the electoral process.  Ulysses S. Grant won re-election over Greeley by a margin of 56% to 44%.

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1872 Electoral Map

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Leigh Jeremias

Leigh Jeremias

Digital Collections Coordinator at Colorado State Library
Leigh Jeremias

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