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Rutherford B. Hayes was the 19th President of the United States (1877-1881) who won against Samuel J. Tilden during the most controversial presidential election in U.S. history. He recalled the troops manning the South, which ended the Reconstruction.
- Rutherford B. Hayes was born on October 4, 1822, in Delaware, Ohio. He was one of four children of Rutherford Hayes and Sophia Birchard. His maternal uncle, Sardis Birchard, became his surrogate father after the death of his father ten weeks before he was born.
- Young Rutherford attended the Norwalk Seminary in 1836. He also entered a preparatory school in Connecticut before attending the Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. By 1842, he graduated valedictorian. On December 30, 1852, Rutherford married Lucy Webb, with whom he had five children.
- Hayes joined the Union Army during the Civil War. The victory at Cedar Creek was his last campaign and on June 8, 1865, he left the army as a major general. He was urged by the Republican Party to run for a seat at the U.S. House of Representatives. Hayes was then elected and served Congress from 1865 to 1867.
- From 1868 to 1875, Hayes served as the Governor of Ohio. As a governor, he supported the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment and significantly contributed to the establishment of the Ohio State University.
- In 1876, he was chosen as the presidential nominee by the Republican Party. The election that year was said to be the most contentious and controversial U.S. election in history. Rutherford Hayes lost the popular vote but trailed the electoral vote with questionable votes from the three states. In the end, the electoral commission awarded him the 20 disputed electoral votes.
- Another controversy was the Compromise of 1877. It was a verbal agreement between the Republicans and Democrats of removing the armies guarding the former Confederate states of Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana if Hayes won over the Democrat
Samuel J. Tilden.
- On March 5, 1877, Rutherford B. Hayes took his oath as the 19th President of the United States at the East Portico, U.S. Capitol. After a month in office, he withdraw the federal troops stationed in Louisiana and South Carolina, which ended the Reconstruction in the South.
- That same year, the Great Railroad Strike challenged his new presidency. Thousands of railroad workers from several states protested the reduction of wages. Hayes sent troops to control the violence.
- By June 1877, President Hayes forbid federal employees to participate in any political activities through his Executive Order. The Bland-Allison Act of 1878 was vetoed by Hayes, which required the Treasury to buy silver for its circulation in dollars. Congress overruled his veto, however.
- On January 30, 1878, the U.S. – Samoan Treaty was ratified by the U.S. Senate. It allowed the U.S. to build a naval and coaling station in Samoa. In return, Samoa will be protected by the U.S. Hayes arbitrated the dispute between Argentina and Paraguay by awarding the Gran Chaco territory to the latter.
- He vetoed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1879. Hayes believed that they should negotiate with China first before reducing the flow of Chinese immigrants, which was allowed under the Burlingame Treaty of 1868.
- The Specie Repayment Resumption Act of 1875 took place during Hayes’ term. The U.S. Treasury was obliged to redeem dollars for gold.
- In April 1879, he vetoed the Army Appropriations Bill three times. Before signing it into law, Hayes assured that troops would not be forbidden from guarding the polls during election. The guard was called as the “rider”. In the same year, he discovered irregularities at the New York Custom House. He found that the office was overstaffed with political appointees of New York Senator Roscoe Conkling. As a result, he reform the appointments of the civil service jobs and replaced some of the employees with his own appointments.
- The Pendleton Act of 1883 addressed the issue of appointing federal employees to civil service jobs through the newly created U.S. Civil Service Commission. Hayes wanted the the merit system instead of favored people.
- In 1879, President Hayes signed the Act to Relieve Certain Legal Disabilities of Women, which gave way to the first woman attorney who argued a case at the U.S. Supreme Court. Belva Lockwood pioneered the career of women in courts.
- During his last years in office, Hayes pushed for the reform of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, giving them most of the authority in policing their territories. He also sought the assimilation of Indians into white culture, education, and training through the American Indian Policy.
Post-Presidency & Death:
- After pledging for only one term, Hayes retired to his home at the Spiegel Grove in Fremont, Ohio, with his family. By 1887, he was appointed as one of the Board of Trustees of the the Ohio State University.
- He advocated free public education for poor white and black children in the South, using government taxes. Hayes also chaired the Lake Mohonk Conference on the Negro Question in 1890.
- By 1886, he delivered a speech assessing inequality on how the few rich people could control great wealth, while the numerous poor had very few opportunities.
- His wife died in June, 1889. Hayes followed on January 17, 1893 from to heart disease. His last words were, “I know I’m going where Lucy is.”
- A funeral procession was given to him by then-President Grover Cleveland, and Ohio Governor and army comrade, William McKinley.
- His body was initially interred at Oakwood Cemetery in Fremont before transferring to the Spiegel Grove State Park with his wife.
- In 1916, the first Presidential Library was opened in his honor.
Rutherford B. Hayes Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Rutherford B. Hayes Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Rutherford B. Hayes who was the 19th President of the United States (1877-1881) who won against Samuel J. Tilden during the most controversial presidential election in U.S. history.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Rutherford B. Hayes Facts
- His Fraudulency
- Mapping the End of Reconstruction
- Political Ally
- Cabinet Members
- The 1876 Presidential Election
- Hayes and Acts
- All About R.B.H
- Women and the President
- The Hayes Administration
- Cartoon Analysis
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