Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Posse Comitatus Act
Eugene J. O'Donnell
The American presidential election of 1876 was marred by allegations of violence, intimidation, and stuffed ballot boxes and resulted in one of the closest and most controversial elections to the nation's highest office. Republican president Ulysses S. Grant dispatched federal troops to polling places in several Southern states ostensibly to maintain order, but Democrats contended that he was trying to fix the election for Rutherford B. Hayes. By the time a special panel that was established to oversee the count voted 8 to 7 to award one more electoral vote to Hayes than his Democratic opponent Samuel Tilden, the nation was torn and the validity of the election was to be forever in doubt. In 1878, congressional Democrats enacted, over the veto of President Hayes, the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA), which banned the use of the Army for domestic law enforcement unless specifically authorized by the Constitution or an act ...