Hayes, Rutherford Birchard
The chaotic political conditions brought on by Reconstruction resulted in disputed elections in South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. This was complicated by the death of an elector from Oregon. Congress created an electoral commission to decide the elections. Although Tilden had won the popular vote by a small majority, the commission awarded all disputed returns to Hayes and thereby gave him a majority of one in the electoral college. Indignation over the obviously partisan decision affected Hayes's administration, which was generally conservative and efficient but no more than that. He withdrew federal troops from Louisiana and South Carolina, and the Reconstruction era was ended. His conciliatory policy toward the South and his genuine interest in civil service reform alienated important Republican groups, notably the
Old Guard led by Roscoe Conkling. An advocate of hard money, he vetoed the Bland-Allison Act, which was passed over his veto and provided for resumption of specie payments in gold. After his presidential term Hayes was active in philanthropic foundations.
See his diary ed. by T. H. Williams (1964); biographies H. J. Eckenrode (1957, repr. 1963), T. H. Williams (1965), H. Barnard (1994), and H. L. Trefousse (2002); A. Hoogenboom, The Presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes (1988); studies of the disputed 1876 election by P. L. Haworth, (1906, new ed. 1927, repr. 1966), K. Polakoff (1973), R. Morris (2003), and W. H. Rehnquist (2004).
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