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His 'Fraudulency' hails from Delaware

Lead Summary
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

Much of what I write in this particular column is taken from Wikipedia, enhanced with other materials I have gathered over the years.

Rutherford B. Hayes was born in Delaware, Ohio on Oct. 4, 1822. He was an attorney and served as city solicitor of Cincinnati from 1858-61. Joining the Union Army, he fought in the Civil War, and was wounded five times. He had a reputation for bravery and achieved the rank of brevet major general. He served in Congress from 1865-67 as a Republican. He served as governor of Ohio from 1868-72 and from 1876-77.

In 1876, he ran for president of the United States, losing the popular vote to Democrat Samuel J. Tilden. However, he won “an intensely disputed” electoral college vote after a congressional commission awarded him 20 contested electoral college votes in early 1877 in an action called the Compromise of 1877.

Under the compromise, Democrats who controlled the House of Representatives allowed the decision of the Electoral Commission to take effect. This was in exchange for the understanding that Hayes would remove the federal troops whose support was essential for the survival of Republican state governments in South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana.

The outgoing president, Republican Ulysses S. Grant, also from Ohio, removed the soldiers from Florida, and as president, Hayes removed the remaining troops from South Carolina and Louisiana.

As soon as the troops left, many white Republicans also left, and the "redeemer" Democrats, who already dominated other state governments in the South, took control.

Black Republicans felt betrayed as they lost power, being subject to discrimination and harassment to suppress their voting, and by 1905, virtually all black men were effectively disenfranchised by state legislatures in every southern state. (Please remember, this was before women could vote).

One other piece of the compromise was that Hayes agreed to serve only one term. Yet, despite the compromise, Democrats labeled Hayes “His Fraudulency."

And, of course, as is well known, the Democrats’ “Jim Crow” era commenced at this time, with the removal of the troops and lasted well into the 1960s – 90 years – when the Democrats perfected more sophisticated ways to suppress those they oppose, in effect to this day.

Despite the circumstances surrounding his ascendancy, Hayes was a fairly good president. He had agreed to the compromise because he thought the Democrats would be gentlemen and leave the South alone. He was appalled by their immediate and rapid actions of racial suppression in the Southern states.

Hayes kept his pledge to not run for a second term, retired to his home in Ohio and became an advocate for social and educational reform.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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