Archive | July, 2014
July 31, 2014

Warren Harding

Our 29th President: 1921-1923


 

Just the Facts:

  •  His nickname was “Wobbly Warren.”
  •  He was the first president to talk on the radio.
  •  He had so many clothes he had to have new closets built in the White House.
  •  He had the biggest feet of any president – size 14!
  •  Harding invented the word “normalcy” during his presidential campaign.
  •  He lost a whole set of White House china in a poker game.
  •  He liked to play golf.
  •  The First Lady kept canaries as pets.

His Life:  

Warren Harding was born and raised in a small town in Ohio.  His father owned a local newspaper and Warren learned about the business as a child.  After graduating from college, he tried a few different professions – he worked in law, was an insurance salesman.  Then, he got a job as a newspaper reporter and liked it.  Finally, he and some friends bought a local newspaper, the Marion Star.  The newspaper did well under his leadership.  He met a lot of important people when he owned the paper and some of them convinced him to go into politics.  He represented Ohio in Congress and then was nominated to run for President.

His Presidency:  

Harding was a friendly and easy going man – good qualities, but not necessarily what makes a good president.  He appointed his friends to positions within the government.  Unfortunately, some of those friends were just in it for the money – his administration was full of corruption and scandals.  By the time he realized this, it was too late to fix it.  The “Teapot Dome Scandal” was the most famous – one of Harding’s cabinet members was convicted of selling oil owned by the government and keeping the money.

 

Despite the scandals, Harding was able to accomplish some things.  For example, he establish the first organized effort to assist our war veterans – the Bureau of Veterans Affairs.  Thousands of men came back from World War I injured and needed medical care.  In addition, Harding appointed former president William Taft to the Supreme Court.

His Family: 

Warren married Florence (her nickname was “Flossie”) when he was a newspaper man – she was 5 years older than he.  Flossie loved to ride horses and play the piano, but she also got some business experience working in her father’s hardware store.  In fact, some people thought she was the brains behind Harding’s success.  Flossie was the first wife of a presidential candidate that was allowed to vote (because of the 19th Amendment).

 

The Hardings never had any children of their own, although they did raise Flossie’s son from a previous marriage.  While First Lady, people called her “The Duchess” because of the elegant parties she hosted at the White House.  She was an active First Lady, supporting issues such as women’s rights, animal rights, and the health and welfare of war veterans.


 

Famous Quotes

“I have no trouble with my enemies…but my friends, they’re the ones who keep me walking the floor at nights!”

“America’s present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums but normalcy; not revolution but restoration.”

“Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little.”

 


 

July 30, 2014

Woodrow Wilson

Our 28th President: 1913-1921


Just the Facts:

  •   His full name was “Thomas Woodrow Wilson.”
  •  Wilson had pet sheep that grazed on the White House lawn.
  •  Wilson liked being President of the United States.
  •  He was the first president to have a PhD.
  •  He was president when the 19th Amendment was passed, which gave women the right to vote.
  •  His nickname was “Schoolmaster of Politics.”
  •  He was the first president to cross the Atlantic Ocean while in office.

His Life:  

Woodrow Wilson was born in Virginia and moved around the South as a child.  He was sickly as a child and had bad vision – he didn’t learn to read until he was nine years old!  He went on to graduate from Princeton University.  He practiced law for a while but became bored and missed the academic life.  So, he went back to school and earned a PhD in political science.  Then he went on to teach at various universities and eventually became the President of Princeton University.  He had always been interested in politics and was elected as Governor of New Jersey.  He was so popular that he decided to run for president.

His Presidency:  

Wilson led us through World War I.  He actually tried to keep us out of the war but was unsuccessful.  For the first few years of the European war, both sides wanted America to join them but Wilson insisted that America was neutral.  Then, the Germans attached a number of American ships and sank the British steamer named Lusitania.

 

Wilson was forced to act.  Americans joined the fight against Germany.  Partway through the War, he gave a speech to Congress that outlined his Fourteen Points for going to war.  After the war was over, Wilson traveled to Paris to negotiate the peace treaty – it was called the “Treaty of Versailles.”  Wilson included many of his Fourteen Points, including a League of Nations that would keep the peace between countries.  He was crushed when the Senate didn’t approve the Treaty.  Wilson received the Nobel Peace prize for his efforts regarding world peace after World War I.

 

Wilson suffered a stroke shortly after returning from Europe.  As a result, parts of his body were paralyzed and he was blind.  First Lady Edith helped him with his presidential duties – she screened all his papers and decided which were important enough to bring to Wilson.  Some people criticized her to taking over so much of the president’s duties.

 

His Family: 

Woodrow married his first wife, Ellen, when he was 31 years old.  They had 3 daughters – Margaret, Jessie and Eleanor.  Ellen loved literature and art – she even helped Woodrow with his speeches sometimes.  Unfortunately, Ellen died in 1914 during Wilson’s first term as president.

 

A year later, Wilson married Edith.  After World War I was over, we traveled across Europe to promote Wilson’s League of Nations.  It was the first time that a First Lady went on a trip to another country.  Wilson retired to a Washington DC suburb after his term ended.  He died three years after his president term ended.


Famous Quotes

 

“Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting.”

“The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.”

“Liberty has never come from Government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it.”

“The only use of an obstacle is to be overcome. All that an obstacle does with brave men is, not to frighten them, but to challenge them.”

 

July 29, 2014

William Taft

Our 27th President: 1909-1913


Just the Facts:

  •   His nickname was “Big Bill.”  In fact, he weighed over 300 pounds when he was president.
  •  Once he got stuck in the White House bathtub.  After that, he had a larger tub installed just for him.
  •  He loved baseball – to watch it, play it and talk about it.
  •  He was the first President to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game.
  •  He is the only man to serve as both President and Chief Justice.
  •  He was the first President to have an official car.

His Life:  

William was born into a prominent family and grew up in the “Queen City” – Cincinnati, Ohio.  He graduated top of his class at Yale University and went on to get his law degree.  He was extraordinarily smart and had a great legal mind.  Before becoming president, he held a number of government positions – he was a judge on the US Court of Appeals, he was both Attorney General and Governor of the Philippines under President McKinley, and was Secretary of War under President Roosevelt.  Taft and Roosevelt were great friends and Roosevelt convinced him to run for president after him.

His Presidency:  

Taft wasn’t particularly happy as president.  He was a great administrator, but didn’t like the “politics.”  Taft continued Roosevelt’s progressive policies like “trust-busting” and land conservation in his own way.  But, in general he was more conservative and questioned how much power the president should have.  Taft’s foreign policy was called “Dollar Diplomacy” – he used financial aid to countries as a way of gaining allies and gaining world power.

 

Roosevelt wasn’t happy with some of Taft’s policies and ran against him in the 1913 presidential election.  They both lost.  Taft’s life dream came true after his presidency ended.  He was appointed as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court – the highest court in America!  So, he was in charge of 2 out of the 3 branches of government during his life – the executive branch when he was president, and in charge of the judicial branch when he was chief justice.  He used his power as chief justice to reform the court system.

His Family: 

William married Nellie in 1886.  When Nellie was a child, she visited the White House and loved the excitement of Washington DC.  When she met William, she was working as a schoolteacher.  She enthusiastically supported his political goals and welcomed every challenge, including moving her family to the Philippines.

 

Unfortunately, Nellie suffered a stroke two months after Taft’s inauguration.  She recovered and became famous for her social events and elegant parties.   Nellie Taft oversaw the planting of thousands of cherry trees along the Potomac River in Washington DC – they were all a gift from Japan.  She also had the White House stables converted to a garage for their car.


Famous Quotes

 

“Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.”

“A government is for the benefit of all the people.”

“We are all imperfect. We can not expect perfect government.”

“Failure to accord credit to anyone for what he may have done is a great weakness in any man.”

“Don’t write so that you can be understood, write so that you can’t be misunderstood.”

 

July 28, 2014

Theodore Roosevelt

Our 26th President: 1901-1909


Just the Facts:

 

  •  Teddy bears were named after him.
  •  He was our youngest president ever – sworn in at age 42.
  •  His nickname was “TR.”  When he was a child, his nickname was “Teedie.”
  •  He was the first “modern president.”
  •  He loved the great outdoors and needed strenuous activity each day.
  •  He is our only president to come from New York City.
  •  The Roosevelt children had more pets in the White House than any other family.
  •  Roosevelt was quoted as saying “No President has ever enjoyed himself as much as I” – he loved the job!

His Life:  

Theodore Roosevelt was born into a wealthy family in New York City.  He was prone to illness as a child, and his father tried to help him get stronger with a rigorous physical activity program. Teddy remained physically active the rest of his life and grew to love all kinds of sports.  He was sent to the best schools, graduating from Harvard and Columbia Universities.  He received a law degree and knew that he wanted to go into politics.  He also loved history and wrote quite a few books.

 

Teddy served in the New York state legislature and was elected Governor of New York.  He was also police commissioner for New York City and worked hard to change the corruption that was common in politics at the time.  He serve in the Spanish American War, as part of the Rough Riders calvary regiment.  He became a national hero.  In between his public positions, Roosevelt spent some time out west working on a ranch that he owned in the Dakota Territory.

His Presidency:  

Theodore Roosevelt became president when McKinley died from his gunshot wounds.  He was considered a “progressive” and brought a lot of energy and new ideas into the White House.  His domestic policies were called the “Square Deal” – he used the power of the government to deal with the problems of the new industrial society.  For example, he broke up companies that had become so big they controlled an industry (therefore charged consumers any price they wanted).  He also helped to resolve labor strikes.  Because of his love for the outdoors, Roosevelt worked hard to grow our national park system, preserving millions of acres and creating our first wildlife refuge.

 

Roosevelt helped to establish America as a world power. He received a Nobel Peace Prize for his foreign policy work as president – he helped to negotiate peace between Japan and Russia.   He was the first statesman to receive the famous honor.  His foreign policy motto was “speak softly and carry a big stick” – which meant to use diplomacy that is backed up with our military might.  He was also instrumental in building the Panama Canal.

 

His Family: 

He married Ann when he was 26 years old  She died shortly after giving birth to their daughter, Alice.  Years later, he married his childhood friend, Edith.  They had a happy marriage and had six children (Theodore Jr, Archibald, Alice, Ethel, Kermit and Quentin).

 

While Edith was First Lady, she oversaw a large renovation of the White House – the West Wing was built and the living quarters were updated.  Edith also created the portrait gallery of First Ladies.

 

The Roosevelt family brought laughter and energy into the White House – kids roller-skated down the hallways, had pillow fights, and played football on the White House lawn.  They had so many pets that he White House looked like a zoo – dogs, cats, parrots, guinea pigs, snakes, mice, raccoons, badgers, and a Shetland pony.  They even brought their pony, Algonquin, up the elevator and into their brother’s room to cheer him up when he was sick.


Famous Quotes

 

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

“With self-discipline most anything is possible.”

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

“I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!”

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”

July 24, 2014

William McKinley

Our 25th President: 1897-1901


Just the Facts:

  •  McKinley was the last of the Ohio president dynasty (5 presidents in 28 years!)
  •  He was the first president to ride in a car.
  •  He had a pet parrot (its name was “Washington Post.”)
  •  His inauguration was the first to be recorded on film.
  •  He thought red carnations were his “good luck charm.” He often wore them in the button hold of his jacket. He was very formal and wore a black suit, satin tie, gloves and top hat everyday.
  •  His picture is on the $500 bill (you probably will never see one, since they haven’t been printed since 1934).

Life:  

William McKinley was born in Ohio (sound familiar?).  He and his 8 siblings grew up on a farm and he spent his days outside fishing, riding horses, and swimming.  He attended public school, then prep school, then one year of college.  Unfortunately, his family lost their savings in the Panic of 1857 and he returned home to become a teacher and help his family.  He volunteered to served in the Civil War, and rose from a private to a major.  After the Civil War was over, he decided to become a lawyer.  He moved to Canton, Ohio to practice law.  Before long, he entered politics.  Before running for President, William served as a county prosecutor, Ohio governor, and represented Ohio in Congress.

Presidency:  

President McKinley led America through the Spanish-American War.  It all started when an American warship was sunk by the Spanish off the coast of Cuba.  It was one of America’s shortest wars – lasting only six months.  As a result of winning that war, America acquired land such as Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam.  For the first time, America was taken seriously as a world power.  During his term, President also annexed the Hawaiian Islands (we didn’t take Hawaii by force, it was by agreement the Hawaiian government and America.

 

When McKinley ran for re-election, he asked a young politician from New York to be his Vice-President – none other than Theodore Roosevelt.  Sadly, President McKinley was assassinated shortly after his second term began.  It happened while he was attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York (otherwise known as a “world fair”).  He reached out to shake a man’s hand and the man shot him twice instead (Leon Frank Czolgosz was an anarchist, who believed the world would be a better place with no governments at all).  He was so kind that he told his guards to not hurt the man who shot him.  He died 8 days later.

 

Family: 

William married Ida when he was 28 years old.  They had two daughters – Katherine and Ida.  Unfortunately, baby Ida died before her first birthday and Katherine died as a young child from typhoid fever.  Ida was never the same after that – she became quite frail and depressed and developed epilepsy.

 

When Ida became First Lady, she asked that anything “yellow” in the White House be removed, even flowers in the garden (she disliked the color that much).  She spent a lot of time crocheting while First Lady – she donated 3,500 pairs of slippers to charity!


Famous Quotes 

 

“The free man cannot be long an ignorant man.”

“That’s all a man can hope for during his lifetime – to set an example – and when he is dead, to be an inspiration for history.”

“War should never be entered upon until every agency of peace has failed.”

 

 

 

 

July 23, 2014

Benjamin Harrison

23rd President: 1889-1893


Just the Facts:

 

  •  The White House got electricity during his term.
  •  He kept pet goats at the White House – they would even pull his grandchildren around in a cart.
  •  His nickname was “The Iceberg,” because people thought he was cold, formal and snooty.
  •  Grover Cleveland was president before AND after him.
  •  His favorite foods were oysters, corn, and soup.
  •  He had more brothers and sisters than any other president.

 


Life:  

Benjamin was from a famous political family – his great-grandfather signed the Declaration of Independence, his grandfather was the 9th president, and his father was a Senator.  He was born in Ohio and grew up, with his 11 siblings, on a farm that was purchased by his famous grandfather.  He spent many of his childhood days outside fishing and hunting.

 

Benjamin was a good student – he attended a country one-room schoolhouse before going on to college.  After graduating, he studied law and opened his own practice in Indianapolis.  He was a rising star and was elected to the Indiana Supreme Court.  But then the Civil War started and he enlisted.  He was a brave soldier and rose to the ranks of General.  He decided to enter politics and ran for governor of Indiana – he lost two times.  Finally, he represented Indiana in Congress before running for president.

Presidency:  

President Harrison didn’t stand out as a president, but he did get quite a bit accomplished.  For example, he signed the Sherman Antitrust Act, which basically said that “honest competition is good” – corporations shouldn’t get so big that they control an entire industry and the consumer looses the benefit of competition.  The Sherman Act is still an important part of corporate law today.

 

In addition, the Oklahoma Territory opened to white settlers during his term, which resulted in a great rush to claim free land under the Homestead Act.  In addition, 6 states were added during his presidency – Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Idaho and Wyoming.  The story goes that there was such a rivalry between North and South Dakota, that he shuffled the papers on his desk before signing, so no one knows which was admitted as a state first.

 

Family: 

Benjamin met his wife, Caroline, in school.  They had [two] [three] three children – Russell, Mary and Elizabeth.  While First Lady, Caroline designed the first official presidential china and started collecting china for the White House.  She also liked to paint, play the piano and grow orchids.  She also raised money for Johns Hopkins Medical School after they promised to admit women to their classes.  Unfortunately, Caroline died while Harrison was president.

 

Even though he spent time in bustling cities throughout his life, Harrison always claimed to love the slower life of small towns.  Benjamin died of pneumonia in his home when he was 68 years old.


Famous Quotes 

 

“Great lives never go out; they go on.”

“Unlike many other people less happy, we give our devotion to a government, to its Constitution, to its flag, and not to men.”

July 22, 2014

Grover Cleveland

Our 22nd President: 1885-1889

AND

Our 24th President: 1893-1897


Just the Facts:

  •  Cleveland’s nickname was “The Beast of Buffalo.”
  •  He was the only president to get married in the White House.
  •  His wife, Francis, was the youngest First Lady ever (she was only 21).
  •  His motto was “Tell the Trust” and his campaign slogan was “Public office is a public trust.”
  •  He loved his hunting dogs.
  •  The candy bar “Baby Ruth” is named after Cleveland’s daughter, Ruth.

Life:  

Grover was born in New Jersey to a family of 9 children!  He was right in the middle – the 5th to be born.  When he was little, his family moved to New York and he spent a lot of time taking care of his siblings.  As a result, he didn’t go to school much.  In fact, Grover only had about four years of school in total – the had to learn the rest at home or on his own.

 

His father was a Presbyterian minister and taught Grover the importance of working hard in life.  He worked as a store clerk and a teacher when he was young.  When his father died, he worked hard to help take care of his family.  Grover paid someone to take his place in the Civil War – it was a common practice of the day.

 

Grover visited an uncle in Buffalo and ended up staying – his uncle offered him a job as editor of a business magazine.  He went on to become a lawyer.  He took his responsibilities seriously and was committed to reforming the political system – he insisted that contracts go to bid rather than just given to a friend.  Cleveland went on to become mayor of Buffalo and governor of New York.

Presidency:  

Grover Cleveland was both the 22nd and 24th president.  He was defeated when he ran for re-election in 1889, but went on to win again four years later.   Cleveland was known for being honest and working hard – but he also loved to have fun.  The Statue of Liberty was completed during his presidency and he gave the dedication speech.

 

Cleveland was a reformer – he tried to make the government work better.  He vetoed more legislation than most other presidents, in his effort to clean up the system.  Some people called him the “Veto President.”  Cleveland was also president during one of the biggest financial crises in American history – the crash of 1893.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t turn it around before his second term ended.

 

Family: 

President Cleveland was the first president to get married in the White House – they got married in the Blue Room.  He married his law partners’ daughter, Francis, who was 28 years younger than Grover.  Their daughter, Ester, was the first child of a president to be born in the White House.  As the First Lady, she hosted receptions twice per week and shook everyone’s hand.  When they left the White House after Grover’s first term, Mrs. Cleveland promised the staff that they would be back in four years!

 

During his second term, Grover became ill with cancer in his jaw.  He had secret surgery on a navy ship in New York Harbor.  He retired to New Jersey and became a trustee of Princeton University.  He went on to live 11 more years.  Right before he died, his last words were “I have tried so hard to do right.”


Famous Quotes

 

“A government for the people must depend for its success on the intelligence, the morality, the justice, and the interest of the people themselves.”

“Officeholders are the agents of the people, not their masters”

“Honor lies in honest toil.”

 

 

 

July 21, 2014

Chester Arthur

Our 21st President: 1881-1885


Just the Facts:

  •  Chester Arthur became president after James Garfield was assassinated.
  •  He was an excellent fisherman.
  •  He knew how to play the banjo.
  •  His nickname was “Elegant Arthur.”
  •  He loved fancy clothes and had more than 80 pairs of pants.  Sometimes he changed his clothes multiple times in a day.
  •  He redecorated the White House and sold 24 wagonloads of furniture.

Life:  

Chester Arthur was born in Vermont.  He moved around a lot as a child because his father was a preacher.  He was home schooled for a bit, then went off to prep school and college.  He eventually became a lawyer and practiced in New York.  He defended the rights of African Americans in court.  Then the Civil War erupted and he enlisted.

 

After the Civil War, Chester became involved in New York politics and held many positions.  He rose through the ranks quickly – he even ran President Grant’s campaign.  He was a Republican Party man and benefitted from the corrupt political system of the day.  But, he was never elected to a public position until he ran as Garfield’s vice president.

Presidency:  

Chester Arthur was Vice President to James Garfield.  He suddenly became president after Garfield died – he was the first president to take the oath of office in his own house.  Arthur was a night owl – he liked to take walks around Washington DC in the middle of the night, sometimes at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning.

 

As president, Arthur continued the changes that Garfield tried to make, which didn’t make a lot of his friends very happy.  He refused to give jobs to his friends, but instead hired people who were qualified of the job.  He surprised some people by refusing to allow powerful party leaders to control his actions as president.  In fact, he created the US Civil Service program we have today by signing the Pendleton Act.

 

Family: 

Chester married Ellen (“Nell”) when he was 29 years old.  They had two children, Chester Jr and Ellen.  Unfortunately, Ellen died before he became President.  He commissioned a stained glass window to be placed in a DC church in her honor – he could see the window from the White House.  His sister, Mary, performed the duties of First lady while he was in office.  He was very private and protected his family from the press while in office.

 

Arthur didn’t seek another term, in part because he was ill.  He suffered from Brights disease, a kidney disorder.  He retired to New York and died two years after he left office.  Unfortunately, all is personal and professional papers no longer exist – he ordered them all burned right before he died.


 

Famous Quotes

“Men may die, but the fabrics of free institutions remains unshaken.”

 

 

 

 

July 17, 2014

James Garfield

20th President: 1881


Just the Facts:

  •  James Garfield was a teacher before becoming President.
  •  He was assassinated and did after only 200 days in office.
  •  His nickname was “Preacher President” (he was a gifted speaker)
  •  He could write with both hands at the same time.
  •  James and Lucretia had five children and a dog named “Veto.”

 


His Life:  

James Garfield grew up on a farm in Ohio – he was the last of the presidents to be born in a log cabin.  His family was relatively poor and his father died when he was a young child.  He taught himself to read when he was three years old and was a good student through the years.  He earned money for schooling by working on the Erie Canal.

 

He went to seminary for two years and became an ordained minister.  Then he finished his formal education and graduating from Williams College.  He taught Latin and Greek for a while.  Finally, he studied law and found his calling.  It wasn’t long before he went into politics – first at the local level and then representing Ohio in Congress.  He took a break from politics to enlist in the army when the Civil War started.  In all, Garfield served in Congress over 15 years before becoming President.  He was a well respected politician and gifted speaker.

His Presidency:  

Garfield won the Presidential election by a narrow margin.  He tried to reform the government, and refused to give jobs to people based on who they knew.  Instead, he appointed people who had the right skills for the job.

 

Unfortunately, President Garfield wasn’t able to accomplish his goals as president.  He was assassinated in the Washington DC train station.  Charles Guiteau, who was mentally unstable, was convinced that Garfield was going to give him a job in the government after he became president.  When he wasn’t offered a position, he became angry and shot President Garfield in the back while he was waiting for a train.  The doctors performed surgery but were unable to get the bullet out. President Garfield held on for nearly two months before dying of an infection.

 

His Family: 

James married Lucretia when he was 27 years old.  She was one of his students and they both became teachers.  They had seven children (5 sons, 2 daughters).  Two died in infancy, but the rest grew up to be successful adults.  His son, James, even grew up to become a secretary for Theodore Roosevelt.

 

Garfield’s mother, Eliza, was alive when he becomes president. She was the first mother of a president to attend her son’s inauguration.  She lived in the White House with her son and his family until he died.  Lucretia (“Crete” for short) took an inventory of everything in the White House, which was the first official record of its contents.  She was recovering from malaria at the New Jersey shore when she learned that Garfield had been shot. She hurried back to Washington DC and took care of him until he died two months later.


Famous Quotes

“Ideas control the world.”

“Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained.”

“Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.”

 

July 16, 2014

Rutherford Hayes

19th President: 1877-1881


Just the Facts:

  •  Rutherford Hayes won the presidency by one electoral vote – the closest race in history.
  •  His nickname was “His Fraudulency.”
  •  The White House got its very first telephone during his term.
  •  First Lady Lucy refused to serve alcohol in the White House – her nickname became “Lemonade Lucy.”
  •  They hosted the first Easter Egg Roll at the White House.
  •  He liked to play croquet on the White House lawn.

His Life:  

Rutherford Hayes was born in Ohio.  His father was a shopkeeper and died before Rutherford was born, so he was raised by his mother and uncle.  Rutherford was very smart and went to some of the best schools in the country.  He went on to practice law in Cincinnati and became quite successful.  He became an abolitionist after meeting his wife, Lucy, and even defended escaped slaves in court.  Hayes enlisted in the Union army when the Civil War began.  After the War, he entered politics – he represented Ohio in Congress and served as Ohio’s governor.

His Presidency:  

Rutherford Hayes becomes president through a hotly contested election.  When it appeared that his opponent, Samuel Tilden, might win the most popular votes, the Republicans asked for a recount.  The result of the recount was that Hayes won by ONE electoral vote. The Democrats were in an uproar and claimed election fraud.  Hayes tried to appease the Democrats by agreeing to withdraw all federal troops from southern states.  This was called the Compromise of 1877 and ended the Era of Reconstruction in the South.

 

President Hayes was hurt by the accusations that he cheated and spent much of his presidency trying to prove he was an honest man.  A goal as president was to change the way the government operated.  He wanted to reform how government employees and officials were hired – so that they were chosen based on ability, not based on who they knew.  He refused to run for re-election, in part because of the fraud accusations.

 

His Family: 

Rutherford Hayes met his wife, Lucy, in Cincinnati.  They married when Rutherford was 30 years old and had 8 children (7 boys and 1 girl).  Lucy was the first First Lady to have a college education.  She was intelligent and cultured, and accompanied President hayes on his visits to reform schools, hospitals, and prisons.  Lucy was a popular First Lady and enjoyed entertaining at the White House, especially informal parties.  She was involved in the the temperance movement and refused to serve alcohol at the White House.

 

After his presidency, Rutherford and Lucy returned to their Ohio estate, which was called Spiegel Grove.  He lived there for 12 years before passing away.


 

Famous Quotes 

“The progress of society is mainly the improvement in the condition of the workingmen of the world.”

“Conscience is the authentic voice of God to you.”

“The bold enterprises are the successful ones. Take counsel of hopes rather than of fears to win in this business.”

“To vote is like the payment of a debt, a duty never to be neglected, if its performance is possible.”