Republican Rutherford B. Hayes lost the 1876 general election by approximately 250,000 votes, yet he was awarded the necessary electoral college votes after the two major parties struck a bargain. As a concession, Hayes withdrew federal troops from Democratic strongholds in the South, thus ending Reconstruction and the federal commitment to African American civil rights. This inauspicious beginning to his term in office earned Hayes the nickname “His Fraudulency.”

A Civil War veteran, Hayes called in federal troops to put down the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 but privately expressed reservations about his decision. After the failed Indian Wars of the 1870s, Hayes began to view the use of force as futile and tragically destructive for all concerned. However, rather than granting Native Americans true sovereignty, he tried to promote their submission to white authority through the cultural assimilation of their youth, forcibly sending boys and girls from Western tribes to boarding schools in the East.


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