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On October 4, 1822, Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born in Delaware, Ohio. A Harvard Law School graduate, Hayes entered politics after a successful law career in Cincinnati and military service in the Civil War. He served as a Republican representative in Congress from 1865 to 1867 and was later elected governor of Ohio.

Rutherford B. Hayes became the 19th U.S. president in 1877 after a bitterly-contested election against Democrat Samuel J. Tilden of New York. Tilden won the popular vote, but disputed electoral ballots from four states prompted Congress to create a special electoral commission to decide the election's result. The fifteen-man commission of congressmen and Supreme Court justices, eight of whom were Republicans, voted along party lines deciding the election in Hayes's favor. The electoral dispute has come to be known as the Tilden-Hayes Affair. Because of the tension surrounding this partisan decision, Hayes secretly took the oath of office in the White House Red Room. He was the first president to be sworn in at the residence.

Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president to host the "Easter Egg Roll" for children on the White House Lawn. To see more photographs of this annual event, search on Easter in Washington as It Was, 1923-1959.

Once in office, Hayes brought an end to the post-Civil War Reconstruction Period by withdrawing all remaining federal troops from the South. He appointed Southerners to federal positions and designated funds for Southern improvements. Hayes also initiated civil service reform and signed the bill that allowed women attorneys to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Although his presidency restored confidence in the Republican Party, which had wavered during the scandalous administration of Ulysses S. Grant, Hayes refused to run for reelection. He left the White House in 1881, devoting his retirement to prison reform and creating educational opportunities for Southern black youth. Hayes died in 1893 at his Spiegel Grove estate in Fremont, Ohio.
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