Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Hayes, Rutherford Birchard

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HAYES, RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD, an American statesman; 19th President of the United States; born in Delaware, O., Oct. 4, 1822. His father died before his birth, leaving the family in comparative poverty. He was able, however, to be educated, first at the common schools, then in Latin and Greek with Judge Sherman Finch, of his native town, later in an academy at Norwalk, O., and in a school at Middletown, Conn. From here he entered Kenyon College at Gambier, O., and was graduated as valedictorian in 1843. He then took a course in Harvard Law School, and in 1845 was admitted to the Ohio bar. In 1852 he married Lucy, daughter of James Webb, of Chillicothe, O., a physician of repute. In 1858 he was elected city solicitor of Cincinnati. His affiliations were with the Whig party till the Republican party arose, after which he was steadily a Republican. On the outbreak of the war he received a commission as major of the 28d Ohio regiment of infantry, and was soon promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He distinguished himself at the battles of South Mountain, of Cloyd Mountain, the first battle of Winchester, at Berryville, Fisher's Hill, and Cedar Creek. After the latter engagement he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General. In 1864, while still serving in the field, he was elected to Congress from Ohio and re-elected in 1866. He supported the impeachment of Andrew Johnson.

In 1867 he was elected governor of Ohio and re-elected 1869, in which office his administration attracted national attention for its sound and progressive measures. In the greenback contest of 1875 he was nominated and elected as the sound-currency candidate for the governorship. This victory determined the Republicans of his State to present him as their candidate at the National Convention of 1876, where he was nominated for the presidency against J. G. Blaine, O. P. Morton, B. H. Bristow, and other popular candidates. The election came into dispute, both parties claiming the electoral votes of Louisiana, Florida, Oregon, and South Carolina. The contest was left to a special commission of 15, who decided by a vote of 8 to 7 that all of the votes in question should be counted for Hayes, and for his colleague for Vice-President, Wheeler, thus giving him the presidency. The popular plurality, however, was against him. His administration was characterized by the resumption of specie payment, the inauguration of civil-service reforms, the restriction of Chinese immigration, and reconstruction measures for the South. The satisfaction of the country in general with his administration was mingled with much criticism, especially as to his attitude relative to the employment of military force at elections, and for his appointment to office of members of the Louisiana returning boards. On his retirement he served on the boards of various benevolent societies and educational institutions, and was honored with degrees from Kenyon College, Harvard, Yale, and Johns Hopkins. He died in Fremont, O., Jan. 17, 1893.