Tuesday, May 20, 2008

#19 - Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877-1881

Our nineteenth President, Rutherford Birchard Hayes (isn't that a great name?!), came to office in the much disputed election of 1876, in which a compromise was reached to end the Reconstruction Era. In a series of secret deals and pledges, Hayes promised to withdraw troops from the South, effectively ending Reconstruction. Hayes was elected President by only one electoral vote and he remains the only President to be elected by a special Congressional Commission.

Prior to being elected president in the most disputed election in history (yes, even more than that one), Hayes had served in the Civil War, been elected to the House of Representatives, and served three terms as Governor of Ohio. Even then, Ohio was an important state to be from (again as has been noted, second only to Virginia for producing presidents).

This era of presidents also begins to feature some prominent first ladies. President Hayes was married to Lucy Ware Webb, known prominently in the Washington circles as "Lemonade Lucy." A devout Baptist, Lucy got her husband to ban alcohol from the White House, delighting the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. She is also the first First Lady to have graduated from college (Wesleyan).

Hayes had pledged to serve only one term (he actually advocated one term limits, but increasing the one term to six years) as President and retired in 1880, leaving the White House and the Presidency to James A. Garfield, so come back next week to hear his tale (albeit a true short story). Hayes returned to Ohio and sat on the Board of Trustees of Ohio State University, which he had helped found while Governor of Ohio, until his death in 1893.

The Facts
  • Born October 4, 1822 in Delaware, Ohio
  • Died January 17, 1893 in Fremont, Ohio (age 70)
  • Party: Republican
The Election of 1876
  • Rutherford B. Hayes / William Wheeler (R) - 4,034,311 popular votes / 185 EVs
  • Samuel Tilden / Thomas Hendricks (D) - 4,228,546 popular votes / 184 EVs
  • Of the five presidents to serve in the Civil War, Hayes was the only one who was wounded.
  • Hayes was the first president to have graduated from law school (Harvard).
  • March 4, 1877 was a Sunday and as a result, Hayes took the oath of office in the White House on March 3, becoming the first president to take the oath in the White House. A more public ceremony was held at the United States Capitol on March 5.
  • During his administration, the first telephone was installed in the White House and the Easter Egg Roll took place for the first time.
  • Hayes signed an order as President that allowed female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court.
  • In 1880, the population of the United States hit 50 million people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rutherford is of Scottish origin. He is the extremely distant cousin of Paul Julian, a voice of the Road Runner.