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The Election of 1876 & The End of Reconstruction
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The Election of 1876 & The End of Reconstruction
 
The Rutherford B. Hayes Administration (Republican, 1877-1881)
Early Life
Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born and raised in Ohio by a moralistic single mother after his father died ten weeks before Rutherford was born. " Rud" developed a very close relationship with his sister, Fanny Hayes, who encouraged him to pursue law as a career. With the help of a wealthy uncle, Hayes went to Harvard Law School, and then made a name for himself as a successful criminal defense lawyer. He married Lucy Ware Webb, a girl who came from a wealthy, liberal, and politically active family. Lucy was a strong believer in the abolition of slavery, in women's rights, and in temperance (her nickname was "Lemonade Lucy") and she influenced her husband to believe strongly in these causes as well. When the Civil War broke out, Hayes was already nearly forty and the father of three with a fourth on the way. Nevertheless, he was one of the first volunteers, stating that he would rather die in the conflict than live having done nothing for the Union. Using his political connections, Hayes was appointed a major in the 23rd Ohio Volunteers. An officer with no military
Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford B. Hayes
experience, he had to work hard to gain the respect of the enlisted men, a task he accomplished with his "intense and ferocious" demeanor on the battlefield. At the Battle of Winchester, he captured an artillery position in hand to hand combat. Hayes turned down safe desk jobs and higher ranked positions with other regiments because he was so loyal to the 23rd. Wounded five times in the war, Hayes kept coming back to the fight, and by the end of the conflict he was a major general awarded a medal for "gallant and distinguished services." During this time, he was asked to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. Hayes refused to campaign, stating that "an officer fit for duty who at this crisis would abandon his post to electioneer for a seat in Congress ought to be scalped." When word came to him across telegraph wires that he had been elected, Hayes responded that Congress would have to wait; there was a war to be won.

Early Political Career
After the Civil War, Hayes served as member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1865-68). He voted in favor of Andrew Johnson's impeachment. He was elected as governor of Ohio in 1868 and was twice reelected. Republicans quickly recognized Hayes as presidential material.
 
Samuel Tilden
Samuel Tilden
Election of 1876
The election of 1876 came down to a fight between Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden of New York in one of the most hostile, controversial campaigns in American history (until 2000). Tilden won the popular vote and led in the electoral college, 184-166, but 19 votes from three Republican-controlled states (Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina) remained disputed. Oregon's count was also challenged. Allegations of widespread voter fraud forced Congress to set up a special electoral commission to determine the winner, composed of fifteen congressmen and Supreme Court justices. The commission finally announced their decision only two days before the inauguration. The vote was 8-7 along party lines to award the disputed electoral college votes to Hayes, making him the winner. Southern Democrats threatened rebellion over what they saw as a stolen election, forcing a deal to placate them. The deal is often referred to as "The Compromise of 1877." Even so, Democrats sneered at the deal, dubbing Hayes "Rutherfraud" and "His Fraudulency."
Election of 1876 Gallery
"Is This a Republican form of government?", Harper's Weekly, September 2, 1876
"Is This a Republican form of government?", Harper's Weekly, September 2, 1876, by Thomas Nast
"He Wants Change Too," Harper's Weekly, October 28, 1876
"He Wants Change Too," Harper's Weekly, October 28, 1876, by Thomas Nast
Engraving of Black Americans Voting in Richmond, Virginia, 1876
Engraving of Black Americans Voting in Richmond, Virginia, 1876
During the disputed 1876 South Carolina Gubernatorial campaign, blacks force their way into the legislative chamber
During the disputed 1876 South Carolina Gubernatorial campaign, blacks force their way into the legislative chamber
"Compromise-Indeed!", Harper's Weekly, January 27, 1876"Compromise--Indeed!", Harper's Weekly, January 27, 1876, by Thomas Nast
"A Truce--Not a Compromise," Harper's Weekly, February 17, 1877
"A Truce--Not a Compromise," Harper's Weekly, February 17, 1877, by Thomas Nast
       
A Man (and Woman) of Principles
The Hayes family was religious and clean-living. President Hayes did not drink or smoke, and. Lucy Hayes refused to serve any alcohol at White House affairs. College educated, politically astute, and a champion of social causes, Lucy Hayes was the first celebrity first lady since Dolly Madison. Though she dressed simply and wore no cosmetics, she was greatly esteemed by the public. One article praised her compassion after a trip with the president to the former Confederacy: "Southern women, who hated the very name Northerner, put their arms around her neck, and poured their bitterness and sorrow into her ears."

Issue: The End of Reconstruction
The policies of Rutherford B. Hayes, America's 19th president, began to heal the nation after the ravages of the Civil War. He was well suited to the task, having earned a steadfast reputation for integrity throughout his
First Lady Lucy Hayes
First Lady Lucy Hayes
career as a soldier and a statesman. Hayes had a reputation for being upstanding, moral, and honest, despite the controversial election. Much of Hayes's 1877 inaugural address was devoted to calming down the citizenry. He quickly announced plans for election reform and pledged his earnest desire to heal the rift between North and South. Though he had generally supported Reconstruction, which aimed to secure the rights of black citizens, Hayes came to believe that interventionist policies were breeding more hatred among southerners, preventing the nation from healing itself in the aftermath of war. One month after taking office, Hayes ordered federal troops out of the South, ending Reconstruction altogether and allowing the Democratic Party to sweep in and assert total dominance of the region. The Democratic hold on the South resulted in a complete denial of rights for blacks, including the right to vote, for nearly a century.
 
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