Rutherford B. Hayes
19th U.S President
Rutherford B. Hayes was born on October 4, 1822, in Delaware, Ohio.
His family had moved to Ohio five years previously, and his father had died about two months before Hayes’ birth.
Hayes graduated from Kenyon College in 1842 as his class’s valedictorian.
Three years later he emerged with a law degree from Harvard Law School and began practicing law.
Four years later, in 1849, he was first drawn to the Republican Party.
Career Before Presidency
When the Civil War began, Hayes left his political career to join the Union Army as an officer.
Hayes was wounded five times, most seriously at the Battle of South Mountain; he earned a reputation for bravery in combat and was promoted to the rank of major general.
After the war, Hayes served in the U.S Congress from 1865 to 1867 as a republican.
Hayes left Congress to run for Governor of Ohio and was elected to two consecutive terms, from 1868 to 1872, and then to a third term, from 1876 to 1877.
Career as President
Hayes helped restore prestige to the presidency, heal the wounds left by the Civil War, and strengthen the Republican party sufficiently to win the election of 1880.
Hayes believed that military occupation had bred hatred among southerners and had prevented the nation from healing itself in the aftermath of war.
Hayes helped to restore prestige to the office by defeating Conkling which claimed for senators the right to appoint civil servants in their states.
After winning the presidency in one of the most contested elections in American history, he led the country through the end of Reconstruction and resigned after one term in office.
Ordered federal troops to quell the Great Railroad Strike of 1877
Negotiated a trade agreement with the Chinese that would regulate immigration to the US
Began dismantling the Reconstruction regime imposed on the defeated Southern states as a condition of the back-room dealings that led to his election
Cons of Presidency
He withdrew troops from the Reconstruction states in order to restore local control and good will, a decision that many perceived as a betrayal of African Americans in the South.
Hayes was blamed for the failure of Reconstruction
Great Railroad Strike greatly affected his presidency