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Rutherford B. Hayes Essay

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	 Rutherford B. Hayes was considered by many to be a simple, uncontroversial, and honest man to run for the presidency. That is why many people are perplexed that such an astute person should have one of the most controversial elections and presidencies ever. Considering Hayes’ honorable principles, it came as a surprise to see how he could unknowingly make a decision about reconstruction where its effects were so blatantly derogatory to the cause he was trying to help.

	The controversy began when he was merely running for office. Hayes was running against Democrat Samuel J. Tilden. When the ballots were tallied in 1876, Hayes clearly lost the popular vote, and had lost the electoral vote 184 to 165 . However, twenty votes
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He thought that the country and most white southerners would welcome a policy of moderation and react by assuring rights previously granted only sparingly . Consequently, he thought that by releasing troops from the last two remaining states would, "get from those states by their governors, legislatures, press, and people pledges that the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and fifteenth Amendments shall be faithfully observed; that the colored people shall have equal rights to labor, education, and the privileges of citizenship" . His theory that the southern government keeps their honor was severely disturbed by what was to follow in the near future.

An 1871 report to Congress says that in nine counties in South Carolina there were 35 lynchings, 262 black men and women were severely beaten, and over 100 homes were burned . To Hayes’ benefit, most people believed that he truly didn’t foresee what would happen with his policy. Professor John W. Burgess noted Hayes "greatest struggle which he had with himself ... was the question whether he was deserting the just cause of the black man and delivering him back to servitude" . There were actually mixed emotions about the topic all around. Evan William Gillete agrees that, "the reaction of most northern Republicans ranged from enthusiastic relief that the issue of the use of troops in the south would no longer intrude into every campaign, to fatalistic acceptance of the necessity of withdrawal".
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