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Rutherford Birchard Hayes

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Rutherford Birchard Hayes

Born : 4 October 1822
City : Delaware, Ohio
Rank : ( 304 )
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Rutherford Birchard Hayes Biography

Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born in Delaware, Ohio, on Oct. 4, 1822. A graduate of Kenyon College and the Harvard Law School, he practiced law in Lower Sandusky (now Fremont) and then in Cincinnati. In 1852 he married Lucy Webb. A Whig, he joined the Republican party in 1855. During the Civil War he rose to major general. He served in the House of Representatives from 1865 to 1867 and then confirmed a reputation for honesty and efficiency in two terms as governor of Ohio (1868–72). His election to a third term in 1875 made him the logical candidate for those Republicans who wished to stop James G. Blaine in 1876, and he was nominated.

The result of the election was in doubt for some time and hinged upon disputed returns from South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, and Oregon. Samuel J. Tilden, the Democrat, had the larger popular vote but was adjudged by the strictly partisan decisions of the Electoral Commission to have one fewer electoral vote, 185 to 184. The national acceptance of this result was due in part to the general understanding that Hayes would pursue a conciliatory policy toward the South. He withdrew the troops from the South, took a conservative position on financial and labor issues, and urged civil service reform.

Hayes served only one term by his own wish and spent the rest of his life in various humanitarian endeavors. He died in Fremont on Jan. 17, 1893.

Rutherford Birchard Hayes (October 4, 1822 – January 17, 1893) was the 19th President of the United States (1877–1881). As president, he oversaw the end of Reconstruction, began the efforts that led to civil service reform, and attempted to reconcile the divisions left over from the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Hayes, an attorney in Ohio, became city solicitor of Cincinnati from 1858 to 1861. When the Civil War began, he left a fledgling 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, he 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.

In 1876, Hayes was elected president in one of the most contentious and confused elections in national history. He lost the popular vote to Democrat Samuel J. Tilden but he won an intensely disputed electoral college vote after a Congressional commission awarded him twenty contested electoral votes. The result was the Compromise of 1877, in which the Democrats acquiesced to Hayes's election and Hayes ended all federal army intervention in Southern politics. That caused the collapse of Republican state governments and, with Democratic disfranchisement of most blacks, first by violence and fraud, and then by law at the turn of the century, led to a one-party Democratic South into the 1960s, giving outsized power for Democratic white conservatives.

Family and early life

Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born in Delaware, Ohio, on October 4, 1822, the son of Rutherford Hayes Jr. and Sophia Birchard. Hayes's father, a Vermont storekeeper, took the family to Ohio in 1817. He died ten weeks before Rutherford's birth. Sophia took charge of the family, bringing up Hayes and his sister, Fanny, the only two of the four children to survive to adulthood. She never remarried;Sophia's younger brother, Sardis Birchard, lived with the family for a time.He was always close to Hayes and became a father figure to him, contributing to his early education.

Education and early law career

Hayes attended the common schools in Delaware, Ohio, and enrolled in 1836 at the Methodist Norwalk Seminary in Norwalk, Ohio.He did well at Norwalk, and the following year transferred to a preparatory school in Middletown, Connecticut, where he studied Latin and Ancient Greek.Returning to Ohio, Hayes entered Kenyon College in Gambier in 1838. He enjoyed his time at Kenyon, and was successful scholastically; while there, he joined several student societies and became interested in Whig politics. He graduated with highest honors in 1842 and addressed the class as its valedictorian

Civil War
West Virginia and South Mountain

As the Southern states started to secede after Lincoln's election to the Presidency in 1860, Hayes was lukewarm on the idea of a civil war to restore the Union. Considering that the two sides might be irreconcilable, he suggested that the Union "et them go." Although Ohio had voted for Lincoln in 1860, the Cincinnati voters turned against the Republican party after secession. Its residents included many from the South, and they voted for the Democrats and Know-Nothings, who combined to sweep the city elections in April 1861, ejecting Hayes from the city solicitor's office.

Election of 1876

Republican nomination and campaign against Tilden

Hayes's success in Ohio immediately elevated him to the top ranks of Republican politicians under consideration for the presidency in 1876. The Ohio delegation to the 1876 Republican National Convention was united behind him, and Senator John Sherman did all in his power to bring Hayes the nomination. In June 1876, the convention assembled with James G. Blaine of Maine as the favorite.

Later life and death

Hayes declined to seek re-election in 1880, keeping his pledge that he would not run for a second term. He was gratified with the election of James A. Garfield to succeed him, and consulted with him on appointments for the next administration. After Garfield's inauguration, Hayes and his family returned to Spiegel Grove. Although he remained a loyal Republican, Hayes was not too disappointed in Grover Cleveland's election to the Presidency in 1884, approving of the New York Democrat's views on civil service reform. He was also pleased at the progress of the political career of William McKinley, his army comrade and political protege.

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