- NAME: Rutherford B. Hayes
- OCCUPATION: Lawyer, Military Leader, Governor, U.S. President, U.S. Representative
- BIRTH DATE: October 04, 1822
- DEATH DATE: January 17, 1893
- EDUCATION: Kenyon College, Harvard Law School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Delaware, Ohio
- PLACE OF DEATH: Fremont, Ohio
- Full Name: Rutherford Birchard Hayes
Best Known For
Rutherford B. Hayes was the 19th president of the United States and oversaw the end of the rebuilding efforts of the Reconstruction.
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As part of the Compromise of 1877, which allegedly was behind Hayes’ victory at the hands of the election commission, Southern Democrats were promised, in part, at least one Cabinet post (the postmaster general spot was given to a Democrat) and withdrawal of federal troops from Louisiana and South Carolina, which effectively ended the Reconstruction era and returned the South to home rule.
This was a blow to any equal-rights strides made since the Civil War,
but Hayes subsequently spent a good deal of effort fighting on behalf of civil-rights laws aimed at protecting black Americans. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives was Democrat-controlled, and they blocked each of Hayes’ moves toward establishing civil rights, at the voting booth and beyond.
Hayes next turned his attention toward revamping the civil-service process, which had awarded political loyalty in its appointments instead of merit. While he fought the good fight on the issue, results would not be seen until years later, when changes Hayes had proposed were implemented (via the Pendleton Act, which mandated the civil service exam) under the presidency of Chester A. Arthur.
Another thorn in Hayes’ side was the great Railroad Strike of 1877, which found railroad workers across the country walking off the job to protest a pay cut. Hayes deployed federal troops to quell ensuing riots, and in the end the workers returned to their posts with the pay cuts still in force—a victory for the railroads.
Inside the White House, a distinguishing feature emerged from first lady Lucy Hayes: an alcohol-free policy. To the joy of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (whose goal was to create a “sober and pure world”), the first couple banned wines and liquors from the White House, which later convinced prohibitionists to vote Republican.
Adhering to his pledge of serving only one presidential term, Hayes retired to Fremont, Ohio, in 1881. He dedicated his life thereafter to advocacy efforts on behalf of such causes as children’s literacy, prison reform, and the gap between rich and poor Americans.
Hayes and his wife Lucy were the parents of eight children. He died in 1893, four years after his wife.
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