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Rutherford B. Hayes : warrior and president…
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Rutherford B. Hayes : warrior and president (udgave 1995)

af Ari Arthur Hoogenboom

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926231,755 (3.42)12
Who was the real Rutherford B. Hayes? Was he a great or inconsequential president? How did his early life and career shape his later years? How did his triumphs and failures alter our history? And why should we care? Ari Hoogenboom's masterful life of Hayes definitively answers those questions and shows why our nineteenth president deserves far greater recognition than he's received in the past. The first biography of Hayes in nearly fifty years, Hoogenboom's book recreates the rapidly changing world of Victorian America as experienced by one of its most reflective and perceptive figures. The Hayes that emerges is a much more progressive and far-sighted leader than previously suggested. He was, Hoogenboom argues, neither a Southern sympathizer nor an exemplar of the "Greedy Gilded Age." Rather, he was a devout, pragmatic champion of equal rights. Hayes's colorful life was rooted in his frontier experiences in Ohio and galvanized on Civil War battlefields, where he survived five wounds and was ultimately promoted to major general. No other president was under fire on the front lines as much as Hayes. Hayes's image as president (1877-1881), however, has not been quite so shining. He has been blamed for Reconstruction's failure and damned for an apparent bargain that guaranteed his election in exchange for withdrawing military support of Republican governments in the South. He has also been criticized for championing the gold standard, for breaking the Great Strike of 1877, for inconsistent support of civil-service reform, and for being an ineffectual politician. Hoogenboom contends that these evaluations are largely false. Previous scholars, he says, have failed to appreciate Hayes's limited options and have misrepresented his actions in their depictions of an overly cautious, nonvisionary president. In fact, he was strikingly modern in his efforts to enlarge the power of the office, which he used as his own bully pulpit to rouse public support for his goals. Chief among these goals, Hoogenboom shows, was equality for all Americans. Throughout his presidency and long afterwards, Hayes worked steadfastly for reforms that would encourage economic opportunity, distribute wealth more equitably, diminish the conflict between capital and labor, and ultimately enable African-Americans to achieve political equality. Although he fell far short of his ideals, his unwavering commitment deserves our attention and respect.… (mere)
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This is the first presidential biography I have read. I read it specifically for a POTUS book club I joined. Hayes left a lot of written material about his life experiences and thoughts which the author used liberally in this biography. At times the writing style was tedious but I do feel like I have a good idea of who Hayes was a person and what fueled his decisions as President. ( )
  littlemuls | Feb 24, 2021 |
Despite enjoying the rare distinction of having served as president of the United States, Rutherford Hayes is usually dismissed as one of the indistinguishably undistinguished Gilded Age occupants of that office. Ari Hoogenboom's biography of the 19th president challenges such treatment. In it, the author offers an account of Hayes's life and political career that shows him to be a humane person whose efforts to do more for African Americans and the other causes of his era were frustrated by political circumstances. Yet Hoogenboom is only partly successful in his effort to rehabilitate Hayes's reputation, for while he shows his subject to have been a surprisingly modern figure in terms of his views on the issues of his day, Hayes's ineffectiveness as president ultimately limits a complete revision. As a result, Hayes comes across as something of a disappointment, a man who was unable to alter the course of events. In this respect, Hoogenboom's book is useful not only as a study of Hayes but as an account of the limits of the presidency in Gilded Age America, albeit one that some readers might find longer than was necessary. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
U.S. President 1877-1881, turned over the South to the White supremacists.
  chaitkin | May 25, 2017 |
It is clear that Hoogenboom believes that Birchy's legacy is poorer than it ought to be. Yes, Hayes was a staunch Unionist who believed the defining point in American History was probably the Civil War (and he might be right). After reading this biography, it is clear to me that Birchy was fairly progressive for his time. He was an advocate of civil service reform in the hopes that it would replace the evils of spoils system which plagued the Executive Office. He fought for equality of blacks in the South with the passage of the 1875 Civil Rights Act (later overturned by the Supreme Court). One of his largest platforms was education reform. Hayes firmly believed that education for all - and equally available for all - was the only way America could remain true to republican ideals. He was saddened and concerned that the growing division between the rich and poor would ultimately lead to American decline. The solution was education.

While all of these things made Hayes an interesting man, the book itself was rather long with many impertinent sections overly detailed. The book would have been drastically better had been at least 100 pages shorter. ( )
  weejane | Nov 27, 2014 |
Rutherford B. Hayes, for me, was just the name of the President who followed Grant. I really knew nothing about him. I read another biography which told me about his early life and military adventures during the Civil War but absolutely nothing about his Presidency so I ordered this book from another library and set to work to find out about his Presidency. I will admit to skimming through to his Presidency since I'd already been there and done that.

The Hayes Administration did not start out well. Because of the disputed election results from South Carolina, Louisiana and FLORIDA, the victor was not declared until March 2nd - two days before he was to take office. A special act of Congress and commission were needed to determine which election returns from these three states would be counted. There were questions of fraud, ballot box stuffing, and intimidation of voters - not the cheering that is expected at the end of an election.

Hayes had at the beginning stated that he would only serve one term. During that term he was confronted with numerous diplomatic issues - Chinese immigration and the beginning talks and - negotiations regarding the Panama Canal. Domestic problems that he faced centered on the final reconciliation of the South by the removal of federal forces and reinstatement of local government control, redemption of greenbacks and return to specie payments, and his prime goal of civil service reform.

Hayes battled continually with the Democratic Congress because of his desire to reform the civil service and frequently had to veto appropriation bills because of riders that they inserted that would have weakened election laws in the South. Other items he should be remembered for are his stressing of education for all (which he worked on after he left office) and the final funded for the completion of the Washington Monument.

Benjamin Harrison said of Hayes "His public service extended over many years and over a wide range of official duty. He was a patriotic citizen, a lover of the flag and of our free institutions, an industrious and conscientious civil officer, a soldier of dauntless courage, a loyal comrade and friend, a sympathetic and helpful neighbor, and the honored head of a happy Christian home. He has steadily grown in the public esteem, and the impartial historian will not fail to recognize the conscientiousness, the manliness, and the courage that so strongly characterized his whole public career."

Rutherford B Hayes stated at his inauguration " he serves his party best who serves his country best." It was words he lived by, always believing that if he did what was best for the country, he would never hurt the Republican Party.

"Rutherford Hayes will forever be linked with the Disputed Election of 1876, an unfortunate legacy since he should be counted among the most honest presidents."

The book is well-written, easy to read and follow, and apparently well-researched.

If only half of what is told in this biography is true, this man has earned my respect. This is a president I am glad that I found out about. Too bad not more people know of his life. ( )
1 stem cyderry | Jul 11, 2012 |
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Who was the real Rutherford B. Hayes? Was he a great or inconsequential president? How did his early life and career shape his later years? How did his triumphs and failures alter our history? And why should we care? Ari Hoogenboom's masterful life of Hayes definitively answers those questions and shows why our nineteenth president deserves far greater recognition than he's received in the past. The first biography of Hayes in nearly fifty years, Hoogenboom's book recreates the rapidly changing world of Victorian America as experienced by one of its most reflective and perceptive figures. The Hayes that emerges is a much more progressive and far-sighted leader than previously suggested. He was, Hoogenboom argues, neither a Southern sympathizer nor an exemplar of the "Greedy Gilded Age." Rather, he was a devout, pragmatic champion of equal rights. Hayes's colorful life was rooted in his frontier experiences in Ohio and galvanized on Civil War battlefields, where he survived five wounds and was ultimately promoted to major general. No other president was under fire on the front lines as much as Hayes. Hayes's image as president (1877-1881), however, has not been quite so shining. He has been blamed for Reconstruction's failure and damned for an apparent bargain that guaranteed his election in exchange for withdrawing military support of Republican governments in the South. He has also been criticized for championing the gold standard, for breaking the Great Strike of 1877, for inconsistent support of civil-service reform, and for being an ineffectual politician. Hoogenboom contends that these evaluations are largely false. Previous scholars, he says, have failed to appreciate Hayes's limited options and have misrepresented his actions in their depictions of an overly cautious, nonvisionary president. In fact, he was strikingly modern in his efforts to enlarge the power of the office, which he used as his own bully pulpit to rouse public support for his goals. Chief among these goals, Hoogenboom shows, was equality for all Americans. Throughout his presidency and long afterwards, Hayes worked steadfastly for reforms that would encourage economic opportunity, distribute wealth more equitably, diminish the conflict between capital and labor, and ultimately enable African-Americans to achieve political equality. Although he fell far short of his ideals, his unwavering commitment deserves our attention and respect.

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