Rutherford Birchard Hayes

Rutherford Birchard Hayes
Served 1877-1881

Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born October 4, 1822, in Delaware, Ohio.

Hayes married Lucy Webb December 30, 1852, and together, they had eight children.

Next PageHayes was a congressman and Governor of Ohio before becoming a “dark horse” Republican candidate for President in 1876. Running against Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, Hayes lost the popular vote but won the Presidency by one vote in the Electoral College, the closest Presidential election in history except in 1824, when John Quincy Adams received fewer electoral votes than his opponent but was elected in the House of Representatives, and in 2000, when George W. Bush narrowly won over over Albert Gore. Some people accused Hayes of “stealing” the election, but he turned out to be so honest and hardworking that both his own party and the Democrats respected him. His Vice President was William A. Wheeler.

The period between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and 1877, when Hayes took office, was known as the Reconstruction Era. Northern troops stationed in the former Confederate states kept a close eye on the South as it rebuilt. There were many hard feelings, and Hayes promised to remove the last of the Union troops, which he did shortly after he become President.

Hayes was the first President to visit the West Coast, taking the train all the way across the country. He was also the first President to have a telephone in the White House. While Hayes was President, Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb and the phonograph.

Hayes and his wife were very religious people, and every Sunday evening they invited people to the White House to sing hymns. Mrs. Hayes was known as “Lemonade Lucy” as she would not allow liquor to be served in the White House.

Because of the close election, Hayes promised not to run for a second turn and did not seek nomination in 1880.

He died on January 17, 1893.

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