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AMERICAN HISTORY

19th President:  Rutherford Birchard Hayes
Years in Office: 1877 -- 1881  (4 yrs)
Party:  Republican
Vice President:  William A. Wheeler
First Lady:  Lucy Webb Hayes
Year Born: 1822
Year Died:  1893  ( 71 yrs old )

Rutherford B. Hayes was someone who did not willingly budge from the moral standards by which he ordered his own life and struggled to order the country's.  Descended on both sides from Vermont Puritans, he came naturally to his ethics. He didn't go off to school until the age of 14, and in 1845 he received a degree from Harvard law School and settled down to practice law in a small town in Ohio.

    Quick to volunteer when the Civil War broke out, he was promoted to major and was commended by General Ulysses S. Grant for gallantry.  Elected to Congress, he refused to take his seat until the last battle was fought.  He went on to serve two terms as governor of Ohio.

    Hayes was nominated as the Republican presidential nominee in 1875 and entered a campaign fraught with mudslinging.  Tilden won a popular majority but only 184  of the 185 electoral votes needed to win, and when violence threatened to erupt on a national scale, Congress appointed a commission - composed of eight Republicans and seven Democrats - the recount the entire vote.  Just two days before President Grant's term was set to expire, Hayes was declared the winner by an 8 -7 vote.

    He worked nobly to "wipe out the color line," but he was overpowered by the Democrats who took over the South.  He also reinstated the gold standard and vetoed an attempt by Congress to prevent Chinese immigration.