Saturday, September 14, 2013


So I’ve been reading up on our wonderful 19th President, Mr. Rutherford B. Hayes. I thought I’d share some of the information I learned about him! I didn’t intend for this to be as long as it turned out, but apparently Presidents have pretty full lives? I tried to make it at least moderately entertaining. Honestly I got a bit bored near the end and kind of phoned it in. Next time I will do it in bits and bobs instead of long sections all at once! On with the show!

He was born in 1822 in Delaware, Ohio. He was raised by his mom and Uncle because his dad died 10 weeks before he was born and his mom never remarried. He had 3 total siblings but only 1 (plus him!) survived to adulthood.  His Uncle’s name was Sardis, which is pretty cool if you ask me.

He went to school and whatever. He did okay. He went to college at Kenyon and became interested in Whig politics there, eventually graduating as Valedictorian. After he graduated he went to Harvard Law and opened his own firm in Ohio. He helped out his cool Uncle Sardis with Real Estate Law stuff. It did okay I guess. When he was 25 he got like super sick. His doctor thought it was tuberculosis but doctors then were barely qualified to put a band aid on people and just told Ruthy to go to Mexico or something? He briefly considered enlisting in the Mexican – American War but his Doctor was like woah, dude, that’s not what I meant so instead he went to visit his family in NE.

He went back to Ohio but business wasn’t doing so good so he packed it in and went to Cincinnati. He opened a new law firm with some dudes and business was pretty good! Also Cincinnati had lots of hot babes and chill places to hang out. He went to church but didn’t become a member for some reason. Why did he go to church then? Probably to pick up some hot babes. Lucky for him it worked! He met his future wife Lucy there. Though it turns out his mother tried to get him to hook up with this broad years before but Ruthy was like woah this bitch is too young! They married in 1952 when she was only 21 and he was 30.

In 5 years she popped out 3 kids! They named their kids Webb (her maiden name), Birchard (which sounds like a tree) and Rutherford. She was kinda uptight and was a Methodist and teetotaler but also an abolitionist which was pretty progressive so she’s cool in my book. Ruthy listened to his wife on a lot of shit but never actually joined her church. Did I mention that he also had a super bitchin’ beard? Cause he totes did.

Oh! So back to the Law thing. He started out dealing with commercial issues and helpin’ his Uncle out with Real Estate bs but he got mad billz in Cincy as a criminal defense lawyer. I know what you’re thinking. UGH. Scummy politician, right? YOU’RE WRONG.  He did defend some probably actually guilty people on murder cases but he also helped out escaped slaves that were accused under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Big C was awfully close to Kentucky which was still a slave state so he tried a lot of those cases.

He was super Abolitionist so this was a personal thing for him but it also helped gain popularity with the new Republican party. I know. Republicans helping and recognizing the plight of suffering minorities??? WHAT UNIVERSE IS THIS? Well, I’ll tell you what. Repubs were actually pretty cool at one point. I mean, as cool as you can be 150 years ago. But we’ll get back to that. Anyway, Ruthy was offered a judgeship in 1956 but he turned it down for some reason. In ’59 he was elected to City Council for a 2 year term and the rest, as they say, is history.

Okay. So. Lincoln is chillin in the White House in 1860, right? Well, Southern states are starting to flee like people leaving an Adam Sandlar movie. Ruthy wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of war to restore the Union. He boldly suggested basically what the rest of the country suggests whenever Governor Good Hair starts spouting off about Texas leaving, which was basically “Meh. Let them.” This was a rough time for our boy. Ohio voted for Lincoln but Cincy eventually turned against the Republican party and went all Hell Naw and kicked R.B. Hayes out of office.  He retreated back to law with his tail between his legs but that lasted a whole 3 days before the war started.

Ruth changed his mind and decided to form a cool volunteer company with some old bros from the Literary Society that he knew. This is unconfirmed but I’m pretty sure they all had super bitchin beards. He eventually gets promoted to major and you know what? A Mr. William McKinley joins his regiment as a private. You might recognize that bro as our 25th President. How cool is that! Anyway. Ruth gets promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He got hurt a lot and once was shot in the arm. He eventually gets promoted to Colonel.

So more boring war stuff happens. Look, this ain’t the history channel. If it was you’d be reading a lot more about aliens. War is kind of boring to talk about. Ruth gets injured some more and his poor horsie gets shot out from under him. Ruth gets injured some more. I guess he did pretty well for himself though cause Ulysses S. Grant wrote him a letter to say hey bro good job. In 1964 he gets promoted to Major General and his wife pops out another baby, which makes 4 total. They named him George Crook which is a weird name.  The war ended not long after that.

So, while serving in ’64 he gets the R nom to HoR from Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District. Buds of his back in Cincy tried to get him to leave the war so he could hit the campaign trail but he was like Bros. No. Check this. You know what he said? He said that an officer fit for duty that leaves his post to campaign OUGHT TO BE SCALPED. Homeboy is srs bzns. I bet him and Teddy woulda been mad bros. So instead what he did was wrote a bunch of LETTERS to voters and won against the D incumbent. Cool as hell.

So in Dec of ’65 war is over and shit. Ruth is sworn in. He considered himself a moderate R man, but for the sake of being chill voted in with the radicals for party unity. So. 14th Amendment? He voted for it and it passed both houses the next year. He was in agreement with most Repubs on Reconstruction issues. The South should be welcomed back with open arms but dawgs, we should protect freedmen and the black brothers of the South. The President at the time though, Andrew J, disagreed. He was in a mad rush to get the South back in the fold before he worried about protecting former slaves and in fact granted pardons to many of the former Confederate leaders. Ruth and many other Republicans in Congress thought this was totally wack. They rejected that bs and put together the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Ruthy gets another run in Congress and voted for the Tenure of Office Act, which made sure that Andrew Jdawg couldn’t remove officials without the boys in Senate saying it was, like, totally cool bro. He tried for some more civil service reform but too soon man, too soon. In ’67 he resigns and hits the dusty trail to run for Ohio Govnuh.

Peeps of Ohio seemed to dig him. He had slightly more moderate ideas that many Repubs but thought that granting suffrage to black Ohioians was the right thing to do. Sadly that shiz didn’t fly but he baaaaarely won the election by like .5% anyway. As a Right dude in a Left legislature he didn’t have a lot of governing power. Also? Ohio Governors had no veto power. So he couldn’t even be all oh no you dinnit. Even with all that dumb stuff he still helped start up a school for deaf-mutes and a reform school for girls. He was super Pro Impeachment of Andrew Json but that shiz lost by one vote in the Senate. He is nominated for a 2nd term and he’s still trying to get equal rights for black Ohioians and paints his opponent as totes racist. He won by a larger majority this time and the Right took the legislature! This biz allowed Ohio to ratify the 15th amendment, finally granting suffrage.

Since he with the cool Repub bros he had a lot more fun in his 2nd term and was so totally psyched to see suffrage expand and a new college (OSU) go up. He also pushed for reduced taxes and some prison reform stuff. He was pretty stoked to serve his 2 terms and was all set to retire from politics in ’72. *ominous music*

So he’s all down with retiring but his buds are like, listen dude. We’re down with this reform biz and think you should run for Senate. He’s all about the Nope because his wife had popped out TWO MORE kids in the last five years. Dude is 50 with toddlers running around. I forget what the brings us to re: children but they have 8 total. I mean, I guess they didn’t have tv back then so what else ya gonna do? So anyway, he just wants to chill with his kids, manage his real estate, and try to get the railways to extend to his dinky little town. Even though he was allegedly retired he tried for, and didn’t get, a cabinet appointment and his old House seat. The same year he retired. Like. Dude. Do you know what retire means? Whatever. 

So in ’73 Mrs. Hayes gives birth to what I think is their last kid. That’s also when the Panic of 1873 hit which made a lot of people lose money, including our Ruthy boy. So that was crappy. ALSO. That year his cool Uncle Sardis died but they did end up moving into Spiegel Grove which sounds hecka swank. He wanted to stay out of politics so he could work to pay off his debts, but when he was nominated for Governor in ’75 he accepted and won.

Apparently he was good enough to be considered for Presidency and after some rough spots with delegates and getting enough votes, and a totes awkward moment when he admitted  he had not idea who da fuq the VP nominee was, he was off to the races. He was running against Tilden, a Dem Gov from NY. He was also totes for reform and shared a lot of the same views as Hayes. Hayes was worried about losing because the economy sucked and he was unsure that people would elect another Republican into office under those circumstances.  His campaign emphasized the fact that hey, Southern Dems are what caused this Civil War, guys! Don’t let that happen again! Dems said hey, our guy is totes pro reform and also lol look at what Grant has done to the economy! Typical shit.

Okay, so it’s 3 days after election day. It *appears* that Tilden has won 184 electoral votes, which is one shy of majority. Hayes seemed to have 166. 19 votes from South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida were still questionable. As you would expect, both sides claimed victory in those states but they were rendered uncertain due to fraud from BOTH parties. In addition to this, one of the three electors in a state Hayes won, Oregon, was disqualified. Whoever won those votes would be the winner!

Basically both parties were in a slap fight. By January they STILL hadn’t reached a decision so Congress and Grant agreed to submit the issue to an Electoral Commission, which would be authorized to figure out what the fuck was going on. They put 5 Reps, 5 Sens, and 5 ultra rad Supreme Court Justices. They had 7 Dems, 7 Repubs, and one Indie mofo. 8 of the Rs gave Hayes the vote and the Dems tried to pull a filibuster to prevent Congress from accepting. (Buncha babbys!)

So, Inauguration Day is rapidly approaching so both sides meet to negotiate terms. Basically Hayes promised to withdrawal federal troops from the South and accept an election of Democratic governments in the remaining states in the south that were “unredeemed.” Hayes won and Reconstruction was now donezo.

Hahaha. Okay, so he even though he won fair and square a lot of Dems still had sour grapes and would refer to him as "Rutherfraud" or "His Fraudulency" for his entire term. That’s pretty hilarious. Anyway, so he’s sworn into office and promises stuff about reform and a FULL RETURN TO THE GOLD STANDARD.  His first act as President was to end Reconstruction and the return of the South to home rule. House of Reps was ruled with an iron fist by Dems and they refused to appropriate enough dough for the army to continue to garrison the South. Even Republicans by this point were pretty much over it.

He continued to try to protect the rights of Southern blacks but he didn’t have much luck. He also wasn’t able to do much to rebuild Republican strength in the South. He tried real hard though. He was willing to do anything and everything, even if it might sacrificing his own reputation and standing in his party and in the eyes of America to enforce racial equality, but the South, and Congress, just wasn’t having it.

Okay. Also. He made the bold move of suggesting that Federal jobs should go to those QUALIFIED not those that were political or financial supporters. This being politics, it didn’t go over very well. He put his money where his mouth was and hired some qualified and like minded folks in various positions. Corruption abounded but he could not get Congress to outlaw the spoil system. He went so far as issuing an executive order forbidding federal office holders from being required to make campaign contributions or otherwise participate in party politics.

This is where it gets really interesting. Chester A. Arthur, who you might know as the 21st President. Refused. He was the Collector of the Port of New York at the time and him and his subordinates all refused. Hayes demanded they resign and they refused. He appoints some cool dudes, including my buddy Teddy R, to the Senate as their replacements. Senate rejects by a vote of 31-25. 6 months pass and Hayes patiently waits for a Congressional recess and fires the troublemakers. Geez. 

He wasn’t able to do a lot personally for reform, but he did pave the way. Pendleton Act of 1883 was signed into law largely due to Hayes. Who signed it? Why, our old buddy Chesty A.A.!

He did some other cool stuff, involving railroads, currency issues, foreign policy and what not. But this is getting entirely too long! If you’d like to read more about that stuff, well go for it. As it stands, I’m skipping to the end. Hayes stuck with his decision to NOT run for a second term and was happy with James Garfield, his successor. Him and his 50 billion children returned to Spiegel Grove. Despite remaining a Republican, Hayes was pleased as punch with Grover Cleveland being elected in ’84 and liked his views on civil service reform. He was also glad to see the lil noob William McKinley that he once led in battle rise to power.

He was super pro education and advocated for many charities involved in such. He pushed for Federal Aid for education and encouraged black students to apply for scholarships. In 1892, one did and succeeded. Hayes was trouble by the divide between the rich and the poor, but wasn’t sure how to fix it. Sadly, in 1889 his wife died. 4 years later old Ruthy boy followed.  His dying words being “I know that I’m going where Lucy is.” President Elect Cleveland and (then) Governor McKinley led the funeral procession. In 1916 the first Presidential library opened, the Hayes Commemorative Library and Museum. I have no proof of this, but I like to think he died with a wicked awesome beard.


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