Grant and the
Campaign for a Third Term


The campaign to nominate Ulysses S. Grant to a third term as president in 1880 was a controversial and unprecedented event that remains historically overlooked in some important respects. The meaning and motivations of this fascinating campaign are now ripe for a balanced revision, particularly in light of the general reconsideration of Grant’s legacy.

The story begins during President Grant’s final months in office in 1876 and 1877–a period of alarm and controversy resulting from the disputed victory of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes following a months-long electoral crisis. President Grant presided over what turned out to be a peaceful transition of power. With Hayes sworn in as president in March 1877 without incident, the former president set out on a two-and-a-half-year world tour.

President Hayes withdrew the last remaining federal troops from the South in 1877, sent troops to quell a railroad strike later that year, and engaged in a high-profile fight over patronage with Grant allies in the Republican Party. Those allies, who constituted the so-called “Stalwart” wing of the party, were in an unlikely chorus with many anti-Grant Republicans, who criticized President Hayes, fairly or not, as a fence-sitter. Puck, the irreverent satirical magazine, called him “a mild milk and watery wish-washy rustic.”


<< Grant and the Campaign for a Third Term >>
A Boom For Grant Contenders Other Hurdles
Grant's Participation The Big Three Battlegrounds Tactics
The National Convention A Third Term for Grant: Point - Counterpoint
The 1880 Republican National Convention in Chicago: The Setting
Conkling Nominates Grant Was Grant a Candidate? Q&A with author Ken Ackerman