CHAPTER ONE -
November 6, 1876
New York City
The sign on the door indicates Managing Editor and the name above the sign is John C. Reid. It is Election Eve and the mood is tense for the two reform candidates running for President of the United States in the Centennial election. The Republicans are fearful, feeling that in this election the Democrats are going to win the White House from them. The National Headquarters for both the Republicans and Democrats are in New York City. As Reid looks through his office windows at the bustling city street below, he can almost feel the damp and bone chilling drizzle that is steadily falling from the overcast sky, a typical New England weather event New Yorkers are accustom to. He thinks to himself, Damn Dirty Democrats are going to win the White House. A majority of the city dwellers are home with their families hunkered down by their fireplaces while hundreds of others, that are loyal to both parties, parade around in the streets holding up campaign signs. On this election eve, not one voter, the party leaders on either side or the candidates themselves, suspect that any newspaper editor has any reason or the influence to devise a scheme to hijack the election. However, this editor not only understands the power of the press, but also has every intention on using it. This newsman knows his paper has the credibility to pull it off and he is willing to put his reputation on the line to confuse the voting results. After all, he thinks to himself, why be the managing editor of the New York Times if you can’t wield some of that power and influence when it’s important and necessary to do so? The Democratic Campaign Headquarters located at the Everett House on 4th and 17th streets is a short distance from the Republican Headquarters, situated in the 5th Avenue Hotel on 5th Avenue and 23rd streets. The Democratic nominee is New York Governor Samuel Jones Tilden. He is popular for his reform tactics and the takedown of Tammany Hall Boss William Tweed and the Mid West Canal Rings. The Republican candidate is Rutherford B. Hayes, also known for his reform tactics. He is currently Governor of Ohio, a Civil War veteran and hero to his party. Hayes and most of his supporters are fearful that they’re going to lose control of the White House and be blamed for the corruption running rampant in the current Grant Administration. They are counting on keeping control in the Senate and have plans to win back control from the Democrats in the House.
The latest polls are showing Tilden slightly ahead by a comfortable margin. Many in the country are dismayed with politics after two terms of scandal within the Grant administration. The Democrats boast of having over half the country’s population and are ready for change. They are convinced if Tilden wins, they will have it. At the present time, not one person realizes or even imagines that in a few days there will be protesting riots in the streets with bloodshed and anarchy. After all, the Civil War has just recently ended and the bloody violence with it. The country is in the midst of healing itself.
John C. Reid, as Managing Editor, continues to analyze and monitor the pre-election results for the New York Times. He spent time in the infamous Libby Prison Camp where an estimated 56,000 prisoners died of disease and malnutrition. As a vocal advocate for Negro equality during the Civil War he defended the rights of freedom for all men regardless of color. Reid doesn’t like the Democrats and he likes Tilden even less. Though Tilden is against slavery and wants reforms in the South, something with which Reid is in total agreement, this does nothing to reduce his distaste for the Democratic candidate. Reid wants Hayes and the Republicans to run the country and no one or no thing is going to change his mind. And I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen, even if it means committing … fraud, he thinks to himself. With this final thought and this very last word, he pauses; the simple word “fraud” leaves a bad taste in his mouth. But just as suddenly his thoughts return to the Democrats and their candidate. Steeling himself and his resolve once more, he realizes he must remain focused. He knows what he must do and has spent a lot of time planning his scheme. He knows he needs the support of the Republican leaders to pull this off. He must convince the party leaders that the three states of Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida are key to taking the election from Tilden. As long as these three states remain under reconstruction and Republican control under the Grant administration, there’s a good chance his plan to deceive will work. Certainly the current President and his Republican Administration will support his efforts, he thinks to himself. He also takes into account Tilden’s a man of high integrity and ego and that he’ll go along with a recount, just to prove to the populous that he has won the election fair and square. Reid’s plan is flawless as far as he’s concerned, the Public Trust or Article II of the U.S. Constitution – clause 3 – are just minor issues that can be dealt with swiftly and efficiently at a later time....Click here to buy your autographed copy of: "Samuel Tilden the Real 19th President"