Daily President: Rutherofrd B. Hayes (1871-1881)

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Daily President: Rutherofrd B. Hayes (1871-1881)

Post by Crazy Boris on Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:59 am

Sorry for the lack of a president yesterday. Depression, am I right?

Anyways, on to today's president: Rutherford B. Hayes! One of the presidents that may be forgotten today (He was featured in the "Mediocre Presidents" song in the Simpsons episode "I love Lisa" alongside Taylor, Tyler, Fillmore, and William Henry Harrison), but who was at the center of one of the biggest electoral controversies ever.




Originally a lawyer from Ohio, when the civil war broke out, Hayes joined the union army, and was wounded in action several times, as well as being promoted to brevet major general (as we go through the presidents, we'll see a lot in the late 19th century that saw action in the Union Army). Following the war, he joined the Republican party and served as a congressman before serving two terms as governor of his home state. Then comes the 1876 election. Initially, it looked as though Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina, all states in the South where the Democrats reigned supreme, unsurprisingly looked to favor Samuel J. Tilden, Hayes' Democratic opponent, but were contested due to allegations of fraud and intimidation of Republicans, eventually all three were awarded to to Hayes. Although these states held more electoral votes, Oregon, with only 3, was the real prize. Oregon's democratic governor, Lafayette Grover, dismissed an elector for being a "person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States." , making him ineligible as per the constitution, and substituting a democratic-leaning elector. As a result, two electors voted for Hayes and one for Tilden, giving Hayes a single vote margin of victory, 185 to Tilden's 184. The Democrats accused the GOP of fraud, and considerable unrest broke out, with someone even attempting to shoot Hayes at his home in Columbus. On January 29 1877, Congress set up an electoral commission to determine who would be president. The Democrats were in control of the house and resisted granting the election to Hayes, until the parties made a deal, the Compromise of 1877, in which Hayes, as president, would remove the last federal troops from the South, ending reconstruction, and ending the Republican control of many states there (which would have the side effect of ushering in the Jim Crow era as the Democrats seized control of these states), in exchange for accepting Hayes' election. And so, Hayes became president with a single-vote margin, and with fewer popular votes than his opponent. Tilden accepted this, but was resentful of the outcome, saying "I can retire to public life with the consciousness that I shall receive from posterity the credit of having been elected to the highest position in the gift of the people, without any of the cares and responsibilities of the office."

Now, onto his actual presidency! Hayes's major actions as president included crushing the 1877 railroad strike with federal force, a dedication to civil service reform, conflict with western Indian tribes, including the Nez Perce chief Joseph, and keeping America on the gold standard by vetoing the Bland-Allison act. Not to mention the obvious end of reconstruction and everything that came with it. The end of reconstruction was bad news for Southern democrats, especially black ones, who were now more at risk of violence and discrimination. Hayes, a strong believer in racial equality, fought against Democratic-controlled congress to ensure that black voters would be protected and the KKK would be suppressed,to which the Democrats responded by cutting funds for the federal marshals who enforced these laws. In foreign policy, Hayes worked primarily in Latin America, helping settle an Argentine-Paraguay border dispute, and working alongside Mexican president Porfirio Diaz to deal with banditos in the border regions. He also opened up unrestricted Chinese immigration, leading to an influx of Chinese workers in the west, who were blamed for depressing wages, leading to congress attempting to pass a Chinese exclusion act, which was vetoed by Hayes. Hayes promised to serve only one term, and abided by it, leaving office after 4 years, becoming an advocate for education reform until his death in 1893, leaving behind a legacy dominated by the contested election, his struggles with congress, and the end of reconstruction.

Fun Rutherford B. Hayes fact: He and his wife Lucy were teetotalers, and almost never served alcohol at the white house (Lucy Hayes was given the nickname "Lemonade Lucy" for this). The first Hayes reception at the white house had wine, but after seeing the drunken antics of his fellow statesmen, Hayes banned alcohol from the executive mansion for the rest of his term, which, although criticized by some, strengthened support for him among prohibitionists.

Tomorrow's president will be Thomas Jefferson!
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Crazy Boris
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Re: Daily President: Rutherofrd B. Hayes (1871-1881)

Post by DuceMoosolini on Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:25 pm

The Compromise of 1877 was an all-around terrible deal. I'm not sure what kind of President Tilden could've been, but the history we have sees a Republican president allowing the rise of Jim Crow. Before then, we had African Americans participating in politics and even being voted into national offices. Reconstruction could have worked. But instead, the years 1880-1920 were easily the nation's low point for race relations. Blacks could've been truly free, but they were instead slaughtered, harassed, and oppressed under a totalitarian regime. Disgusting.
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