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County Results in 1884


Another day, another post on the 1884 presidential election.

I found this county map of 1884 election results pretty interesting because it shows southern “redemption” in progress. Whites may have controlled all the southern states by 1884, but on the county level, it’s interesting to note a lot of counties voting for Blaine. Some of this came from the white Republican areas of the South like east Tennessee. But look at southeast Louisiana or the Arkansas side of the Mississippi Delta. These are heavily black areas where enough African-Americans are still voting to swing the counties toward the Republican. Of course, you hardly see any of that in Mississippi, Alabama, or Georgia.

Just worth remembering the piecemeal process of white supremacy.

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  • lige

    It’s interesting how the current map would be almost completely flipped. Funny to think that Eastern Oregon used to be a solidly Democratic block.

    • I don’t know too much about historical voting patterns in eastern Oregon. Was it consistently Democratic at this time? And if so, why?

      • lige

        I’ve always heard (though I haven’t found real evidence) that Eastern Oregon was settled by more Southerners than the West side – add in a largely Irish mining and sheep ranching population and you have pretty good conditions for late 19th Century Democratic politicians.

  • Charlie Sweatpants

    What’s with that area around Houston? Especially to the south, those are some of the reddest places on the map. There are also some real concentrations in coastal South Carolina-Georgia-N.E. Floria, which I would assume are the last holdouts of places where Sherman transferred land to the newly freed slaves, but I don’t know the specifics to say that with confidence.

  • Also notable: Cleveland, a Native Son, is largely abandoned by upstate New York except for Erie County (he was mayor of Buffalo) Onondaga County (Syracuse) and Albany. That pattern has largely held up.

    • Scott Monje

      That’s what I was thinking. New York City shows up Democratic and Upstate mostly Republican, just like today. In those days, though, it meant New York City had flirted with secession while Upstate was abolitionist.

    • Just as a note, according to the map, Cleveland didn’t win Erie County but Niagara County (just to the north).

  • Colin Day

    Did southeastern Louisiana go for Blaine because he was Catholic?

    • I think blacks were still voting in southeastern LA. Because of the preexisting elite black community, it was harder to suppress voting in that area, as opposed to northern Louisiana.

    • HairyApe

      The Sugar Barons of SE LA were Republicans. Sugar was a capital intensive and needed tariff protection.

      • Wasn’t there also a lot of northern investment in sugar plantations during Reconstruction?

        • HairyApe

          I think that’s right. There wasn’t a helluva lot of capital in the South after the 13th Amendment. The North bought machines, the South human beings.

  • John Emerson

    The progressive vote was 3.2%, slightly larger than it was in 2000.

  • John Emerson

    White supremacy became a fact in 1898 when illegal organized militias deposed the Republican government of Wilmington SC, and President McKinley did not intervene.

    When the Southern Republicans disappeared, so did the Southern Populists, and effectively, the Populists nationally. I’m convinced that that that is why McKinley sat on his hands.

    1900-1960 four ex-Confederate states had 100% Democratic Congressional delegations, and 4 more had a single non-Democrat during that time.

    • HairyApe

      It’s Wilmington, NC. In SC Ben Tillman’s 1895 Constitution disenfranchised African Americans. Beaufort County was more than 90% African American and elected black local, state and federal candidates through the 1890s.

      The Compromise of 1877 precluded Federal intervention in Southern politics. The North accepted White Supremacy. The last feeble effort at building a black and tan Republican Party in the South was the ‘Force Bill’ in the early 1890s.

  • BillWAF

    The best book on this subject is J. Morgan Kousser’s “The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880-1910” (Yale Univ. Press). (Kousser originally wrote it as his dissertation under C. Vann Woodward. Among other points, he demonstrates that a large percentage of poor whites in the South were also disfranchised.

  • Jonathan

    You should check a population density map against that map. The Republican leaning counties (read the liberal counties) look to be around major population centers. New Orleans, Little Rock, and Houston would explain those islands of Republican leaning counties. Just like today, this map reflects the confluence of North/South, POC/White, and Urban/Rural divides acting on the political landscape.

  • Actually, quite a few counties on the Mississippi side of the Mississippi Delta are in red–it’s more apparent if you look at the larger version.

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