Rutherford Birchard Hayes

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Hayes, Rutherford Birchard,

1822–93, 19th President of the United States (1877–81), b. Delaware, Ohio, grad. Kenyon College, 1843, and Harvard law school, 1845. He became a moderately successful lawyer in Cincinnati and was made (1858) city solicitor. In the Civil War he began as a major of volunteers, took part in some 50 engagements, was several times wounded, and rose in rank to be (1865) major general of volunteers. Elected to Congress while still in the field, he served (1865–67) as a regular Republican, quietly supporting the radical ReconstructionReconstruction,
1865–77, in U.S. history, the period of readjustment following the Civil War. At the end of the Civil War, the defeated South was a ruined land. The physical destruction wrought by the invading Union forces was enormous, and the old social and economic
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 program. He was three times (1867, 1869, 1875) elected governor of Ohio and was chosen as the Republican candidate for President in 1876, opposing Samuel J. TildenTilden, Samuel Jones,
1814–86, American political figure, Democratic presidential candidate in 1876, b. New Lebanon, N.Y. Admitted to the bar in 1841, Tilden was an eminently successful lawyer, with many railroad companies as clients.
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, the Democratic candidate. The election marked the resurgence of the Democrats and the political reentry of the South into the Union.

The chaotic political conditions brought on by Reconstruction resulted in disputed elections in South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. This was complicated by the death of an elector from Oregon. Congress created an electoral commission to decide the elections. Although Tilden had won the popular vote by a small majority, the commission awarded all disputed returns to Hayes and thereby gave him a majority of one in the electoral college. Indignation over the obviously partisan decision affected Hayes's administration, which was generally conservative and efficient but no more than that. He withdrew federal troops from Louisiana and South Carolina, and the Reconstruction era was ended. His conciliatory policy toward the South and his genuine interest in civil service reform alienated important Republican groups, notably the "Old Guard" led by Roscoe ConklingConkling, Roscoe,
1829–88, American politician, b. Albany, N.Y. On his admission to the bar in 1850, he was immediately appointed district attorney of Albany. The son of Alfred Conkling, Congressman and federal judge, he became a U.S.
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. An advocate of hard money, he vetoed the Bland-Allison ActBland-Allison Act,
1878, passed by the U.S. Congress to provide for freer coinage of silver. The original bill offered by Representative Richard P. Bland incorporated the demands of the Western radicals for free and unlimited coinage of silver.
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, which was passed over his veto and provided for resumption of specie payments in gold. After his presidential term Hayes was active in philanthropic foundations.


See his diary ed. by T. H. Williams (1964); biographies H. J. Eckenrode (1957, repr. 1963), T. H. Williams (1965), H. Barnard (1994), and H. L. Trefousse (2002); A. Hoogenboom, The Presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes (1988); studies of the disputed 1876 election by P. L. Haworth, (1906, new ed. 1927, repr. 1966), K. Polakoff (1973), R. Morris (2003), and W. H. Rehnquist (2004).

Hayes, Rutherford Birchard


Born Oct. 4, 1822, in Delaware, Ohio; died Jan. 17, 1893, in Fremont, Ohio. American statesman.

Hayes was educated as a lawyer. He served in the Civil War on the side of the North, and in 1864, running as a Republican, he was elected to Congress. In 1867 he was elected governor of Ohio and was reelected in 1869 and 1875. Hayes was president of the USA from 1877 to 1881. He won the presidency as a result of the Hayes-Tilden compromise of 1877. Under the terms of the agreement, Hayes withdrew federal troops from South Carolina and Louisiana and made a number of other concessions to the slaveholders. In the summer of 1877, Hayes used troops and police to crush a major strike by railroad workers. Under Hayes, the US government in 1878 obtained permission to build a naval station at Pago Pago on Tutuila Island in Samoa.

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