Rutherford Birchard Hayes (/ˈrʌðərfərd/; October 4, 1822 – January 17, 1893) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 19th president of the United States from 1877 to 1881, after serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and as governor of Ohio. Before the American Civil War, Hayes was a lawyer and staunch abolitionist who defended refugee slaves in court proceedings. He served in the Union Army and the House of Representatives before assuming the presidency. His presidency represents a turning point in U.S. history, as historians consider it the formal end of Reconstruction. Hayes, a prominent member of the Republican "Half-Breed" faction, placated both Southern Democrats and Whiggish Republican businessmen by ending the federal government's involvement in attempting to bring racial equality in the South.
As an attorney in Ohio, Hayes served as Cincinnati's city solicitor from 1858 to 1861. At the start of the American Civil War, he left a fledgling political career to join the Union Army as an officer. Hayes was wounded five times, most seriously at the Battle of South Mountain in 1862. He earned a reputation for bravery in combat and was promoted to brevet major general. After the war, he served in Congress from 1865 to 1867 as a Republican. Hayes left Congress to run for governor of Ohio and was elected to two consecutive terms, from 1868 to 1872. He served half of a third two-year term from 1876 to 1877 before his swearing-in as president.
Rutherford B. Hayes | The White House
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
Rutherford B. Hayes: A Resource Guide (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress)