Rutherford B. Hayes, in full Rutherford Birchard Hayes, (born October 4, 1822, Delaware, Ohio, U.S.—died January 17, 1893, Fremont, Ohio), 19th president of the United States (1877–81), who brought post-Civil War Reconstruction to an end in the South and who tried to establish new standards of official integrity after eight years of corruption in Washington, D.C. He was the only president to hold office by decision of an extraordinary commission of congressmen and Supreme Court justices appointed to rule on contested electoral ballots.
Early political life
Hayes was the son of Rutherford Hayes, a agriculturist, and Sophia Birchard. After graduating from Kenyon College at the head of his class in 1842, Hayes studied law at Harvard, where he took a maid of laws degree in 1845. Returning to Ohio, he established a successful legal practice in Cincinnati, where he represented defendants in several fugitive- slave cases and have come affiliated to the new formed Republican Party. In 1852 he married Lucy Ware Webb (Lucy Hayes), a cropped and astonishingly well- educated woman for her time. After combat service with the Union Army, he was cherry-picked to Congress (1865 – 67) either to the Ohio control (1868 – 76).
Presidency and later life
As president, Hayes promptly made good on the secret pledges made during the electoral dispute. He withdrew federal troops from states still under military occupation, thus ending the era of Reconstruction (1865–77). His promise not to interfere with elections in the former Confederacy ensured a return there of traditional white Democratic supremacy. He appointed Southerners to federal positions, and he made financial appropriations for Southern improvements. These policies aroused the animosity of a conservative Republican faction known as the Stalwarts, who were further antagonized by the president’s efforts to reform the civil service by substituting nonpartisan examinations for political patronage. Hayes’s demand for the resignation of two top officials in the New York customhouse (including Chester Arthur, the future president) provoked a bitter struggle with New York senator Roscoe Conkling.