Father died before he was born. Raised in Delaware. His mother’s brother played a major role in his life.
Became lawyer. Went to Harvard. Served in military during civil war. Became a Congressman, then Governor of Ohio three times. Supported Grant administration. Lost race for Senate. Started free library in his town.
Elected president in 1876. However, it was a disputed election, which weakened his presidency. He also had to deal with a Democratic Congress.
He worked to move the country back to a gold standard. He pursued civil service reform. In his third year he vetoed a slew of attempts by southern congress to make it difficult to enforce the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. Had various issues with Indians.
Very pro education, even for blacks. Thought capitalism caused labor to not get fair share. Thought taxation too low for wealthy. “A government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.”
One of the best educated presidents.
Promised not to run for a second term, and declined to when pressed to by his party.
Interesting tidbits: Somoa requested annexation during his administration. Part of Paraguay is named after Hayes. Author mentions that Hayes tried to bring the parties together after his disputed election, unlike Bush, who did the opposite.