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Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th American
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Rutherford Birchard Hayes (October 4, 1822 - January 17, 1893) was the 19th President of the United States (1877-1881). When the Civil War began, he left a successful political career to join the Union Army as an officer. Wounded five times, he earned a reputation for bravery in combat and was promoted to the rank of major general. After the war, he served in the US Congress from 1865 to 1867 as a Republican. Hayes left Congress to run for Governor of Ohio and was elected to two consecutive terms, serving from 1868 to 1872, and again in 1876-77. In 1876, Hayes was elected president in one of the most contentious elections in national history. He lost the popular vote to Democrat Samuel Tilden, but won the electoral college vote after a Congressional commission awarded him twenty disputed electoral votes. The result was the Compromise of 1877, in which the Democrats acquiesced to his election and Hayes ended all federal army intervention in Southern politics. As president, he oversaw the end of Reconstruction and restored trust in government. He was a reformer who began the efforts that led to civil service reform and attempted to reconcile the divisions left over from the Civil War and Reconstruction. He believed in meritocratic government, equal treatment without regard to race, and improvement through education. He kept his pledge not to run for re-election. He retired to his home in Ohio and became an advocate of social and educational reform. He died of complications of a heart attack in 1893 at the age of 70.
June 1st, 2013
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