BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Ari Hoogenboom, you say in your book near the end that Rutherford B. Hayes entered the White House with the poorest mandate of any President ever. How is that?
ARI HOOGENBOOM, AUTHOR, "RUTHERFORD B. HAYES: WARRIOR & PRESIDENT": He was elected after a long dispute following the -- well, not following the election -- the election of 1876 dragged on into 1877 and he was not officially declared winner until a couple of days before his inauguration in March of 1877. This is the famous disputed election of 1876 '77. He did not have a majority of the votes that were cast. He was elected by one electoral vote and that only after a long dispute in Congress over whether the electoral votes of South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana should be counted for either Hayes or his rival, Samuel J. Tilden of New York.
LAMB: Where is Rutherford B. Hayes from?
HOOGENBOOM: Ohio, lived in Cincinnati for several years, was born in Delaware, Ohio, but when he was elected President of the United States, he was living in the town of Fremont, Ohio.
LAMB: What were the political offices he had in his life?
HOOGENBOOM: He was the solicitor of the city of Cincinnati, which means Cincinnati's lawyer, but it was an elected office. And then he went into the Civil War and became a Congressman after the Civil War. He was elected twice, but he didn't serve two full terms, and then he became governor of Ohio and was elected governor three times.
LAMB: Why didn't he serve two full terms?
HOOGENBOOM: He ran for governor. He resigned to run for governor, and he was elected governor -- a very close campaign. All of his gubernatorial campaigns were extremely close.
LAMB: You say that there is a resemblance between Rutherford B. Hayes and Jimmy Carter.
HOOGENBOOM: Yeah, this in their post Presidential careers. In fact, the resemblance is quite close. Hayes became involved in social causes after he was President of the United States. He was very much involved movements to educate Southerners -- poor Southerners, mostly black children this would be; participated in two funds, a puberty fund and a Slater Fund. He was head of the Slater Fund and money was used from the Slater Fund to help educate blacks in the South. He was also ardently in favor of a piece of legislation that never passed called the Blair bill, and that would have given federal funds to poor school districts throughout the nation, primarily in the South and in the West. And he wanted that bill passed very badly in order to provide educational equality, which would provide, he thought, equality of economic opportunity -- tied the two together.
LAMB: You start off this book that you wrote quoting Thomas Wolfe.
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, yes.
LAMB: And you say, "Garfield, Arthur, Harrison and Hayes" -- this is a quote -- "were the lost Americans. Their gravely vacant and bewhiskered faces mixed, melted, swam together in the sea depths of a past intangible, immeasurable and unknowable." Which had the whiskers? Which had the burnsides? Which was which? Why did you decide to lead with that?
HOOGENBOOM: Well, because the Gilded Age Presidents really are anonymous as far as most Americans are concerned. And Wolfe was right. Most Americans really don't know Rutherford Hayes from Garfield or from Chester Arthur, and the questions frequently are, "Well, did he have the long beard?" And the answer is, "Yes, he did." He had the very full beard, but most people really don't have a crisp, clear idea of Hayes unless it's in connection with the end of Reconstruction and in connection with this disputed election.
LAMB: What's known as the Gilded Age?
HOOGENBOOM: Well, it's a loose term, but usually period from 1865 to 1900, and we apply it usually just simply to domestic politics and to a large extent, after the end of Reconstruction, after 1877.
LAMB: 1867 -- was 1868 the election?
LAMB: I'm right, yeah. It's 1876.
HOOGENBOOM: Right, yeah, 1876. The centennial year -- that was the election, yes.
LAMB: Who had been President?
HOOGENBOOM: Ulysses S. Grant.
LAMB: For how long?
HOOGENBOOM: Eight years -- two terms -- and his second term was really ending quite disastrously in a political sense: scandals broke, the Republican Party was in disarray, a great depression had begun following the panic of 1873, the country was plunged into a depression. So the Republican Party was in deep trouble, in deep trouble because of corruption, accusations of corruption in the Grant administration, in deep trouble because of the economic collapse; in trouble also because many people were beginning to question the wisdom of continued military occupation in the South, where it existed.
LAMB: And Rutherford B. Hayes was President for how long?
HOOGENBOOM: Only for four years. He resolved to run only for one term which I think was a mistake.
LAMB: Did he say that up front?
HOOGENBOOM: He said that up front, and he consistently adhered to it, and he's a c -- he's a curious combination of an ambitious man, and yet, a man that kept his ambitions in check, and he really -- he was really perfectly happy to go home to his home in Fremont, Ohio, and read books and then campaign for social causes. You know, I forgot to mention one of the social causes that he was interested in, not -- was also prison reform; very unpopular sort of thing to do, but he opposed the death penalty, for example. He did not -- did not believe in it. He always felt people could be, somehow or other, rehabilitated -- again, through education; everybody could be aided by some kind of training.
LAMB: Where would we find you working every day?
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. And I teach the graduate program, some, but I'm -- my -- my office is at Brooklyn College, and most of my program is at -- is at Brooklyn College.
LAMB: Where are you from originally?
HOOGENBOOM: Queens; I didn't -- Queens, New York. I didn't really move very far from Queens to Brooklyn, although I did a lot of things in between, actually.
LAMB: How long you been at Brooklyn College?
HOOGENBOOM: Well, 26 years, mm.
LAMB: And when did you first think you wanted to do a biography on Rutherford B. Hayes?
HOOGENBOOM: Well, I did a dissertation on civil service reform, and Hayes was a very important figure in the civil service reform movement. The -- th -- the subject of Hayes actually came -- came to me -- rather, me to it. The University Press of Kansas has a President -- series of Presidential administrations, and they asked me to do the one on Hayes because of my interest in Hayes, because of civil service reform. I did that and became convinced that there was room for a full scale biography of Hayes and so I went on and did the full scale biography.
LAMB: Where are you from originally?
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, I am originally from Queens. I was born in Richmond Hill.
LAMB: You mean, were you -- you went to school out there and ...
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, I -- where did I go to school? Well, I went to John Adams High School in Ozone Park. I went to a small New England college -- Atlantic Union College; then I went to graduate school at Columbia, which -- tha -- that was a -- that, for me, was a -- the key -- key move. I studied with David Donald -- David Herbert Donald, the "Charles Sumner" author. And David Donald is a -- oh, he's a -- he's great historian and great stylist but, a great teacher, and he just spent an enormous amount of time with me, and -- in going over papers, and I was lucky enough that I was one of his early students, and so he's really helped me all of my life. He's still there.
LAMB: In the acknowledgements, you say that, "My greatest debts are to the members of my own family both my daughter Lynn and my son Ari Jr." How did they get involved in this?
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, well, my daughter Lynn has been working in -- well, let's see, she's been a managing editor of a news service and she writes columns for TV update and things like that on various TV personalities. And she writes very well, and so she also was a history major, and she knows her history extremely well, and she read the whole book and helped cut it down. My son also worked in editing. He was working for both Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins, although now he's teaching high school and much prefers it to the publishing game. And he read it and made suggestions as well. And my wife, too, who really went through the whole thing page by page.
LAMB: When did you first start on the book?
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, about 12 years ago, I've been working on this. And it takes a long time to put something like this together.
LAMB: What was the most valuable source of information for you?
HOOGENBOOM: The library at the Hayes Presidential Center is really wonderful. Hayes himself kept a diary and kept his correspondence, and the Hayes family gave all of his papers to this library or set up this library, and it's the only Presidential library that is not funded by the federal government. It should be, and goodness knows it needs federal government support at this time, but it is the only one that does operate outside of the National Archives system.
LAMB: Now, also, you've got a picture here of the Spiegel Grove.
HOOGENBOOM: That's the house, which is right opposite the library, and it's a lovely house. Actually, that house shows the additions to it. When it was originally built, it was only about one third of that size.
LAMB: Where'd all that start, where he had this place in Fremont, Ohio, and this Presidential library? I mean, I've had the pleasure of going there, and I was really surprised when I saw the place. You don't hear much about it.
HOOGENBOOM: Yeah, I know it. It's just off the turnpike at Fremont, so it's very handy, and people can get there rather easily. Hayes first went there because his Uncle Sardis, who was a successful businessman, had settled there. And Hayes went there, rather than Columbus, after Hayes graduated from Columbus -- he graduated from Kenyon College, and he read law briefly at Columbus, and then he went to Harvard Law School.
LAMB: Is this Sardis, by the way?
HOOGENBOOM: That's Sardis; and Sardis was in Fremont, and Hayes, after graduating from Harvard Law, had a choice of going to Columbus, where his mother and sister were, who would try to tell him how to live his life, or go to Fremont, where his uncle was, who would be a little more easygoing and could steer some business to him. And Hayes went to Fremont and began practicing law in Fremont.
LAMB: Who's this?
HOOGENBOOM: That's Lucy Webb, as a young lady of 16 whom Hayes married several years after that picture was taken. He first saw her when she was about that age, and thought she was a nice kid, but didn't think much beyond that.
LAMB: How did they get hooked up?
HOOGENBOOM: She went to Cincinnati -- well, ultimately, he went to Cincinnati to practice. He found Fremont was really just simply too small a town for him to really make a name for himself in the law; went to Cincinnati; she was in college there. They did get married fairly soon after he arrived in Cincinnati. She's the first first lady to have a college degree, and most first ladies up to that -- well, all first ladies up to that point did not graduate from college.
LAMB: Did I remember correctly that he's the first President to ever have a telephone in the White House?
HOOGENBOOM: That is true. But it wasn't of much use, because hardly anybody else had a telephone, and so they had a telephone connection with the Treasury Department. Most of the White House communication was actually by shortwave -- not by telegraph.
LAMB: How many children did he have?
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, let's see. I've got to start counting now. I guess he had eight altogether, and five survived into adulthood.
LAMB: I found Webb -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- Rud, Manning, Joseph, George, Fanny and Birchard.
LAMB: Did I miss one?
HOOGENBOOM: I think -- let's see, are we missing one? This is ...
LAMB: That's seven.
HOOGENBOOM: Well, this is awful, if I can't remember all these Hayes kids. Let's see. Birch, Webb, Rud, Fanny and Scott are the ones that survived. And then there was a Manning died and a Joe died and a George died. Did I have a George there?
LAMB: I have one on my list.
HOOGENBOOM: OK. Those are the children anyhow.
LAMB: What impact did the children have on the family?
HOOGENBOOM: They were very child centered, the Hayeses, and they're very indulgent, and when they were young -- when the Hayeses were young and Birch and Webb were little fellows, they would make an awful racket in beating drums, and the Hayeses seemed to be perfectly happy with all the commotion and turmoil. In fact, he didn't particularly want his mother around at that time because he felt that she couldn't quite take all of the racket. And he tried to counsel her -- she was taking care of his sister's kids. His sister died in childbirth. His sister's a very brilliant young woman and died really prematurely, and Hayes just felt dreadful about that. In any event, his mother was taking care of her kids, and Hayes tried to tell her, "Take it easy on the children. They'll be OK. And don't have such high standards with them." He and Lucy were very easygoing with their kids.
LAMB: Go back, and let's see if we can paint what the era was like again: 1876. President Lincoln had been shot in 1865 so this was 12 years later or so -- might have been, oh, 11 years later.
LAMB: Ulysses S. Grant -- Johnson had been President for three and a half years.
HOOGENBOOM: Almost four years, yes.
LAMB: Yeah. Andrew Johnson -- he was a Democrat in the Union Party or ...
HOOGENBOOM: Yeah. They balanced the ticket in '64. Nobody ever expected this tragedy to happen, and Johnson became President of the United States, as basically, a Democrat, a Unionist, a Union Democrat, but had very little sympathy with the Reconstruction objectives of the radical wing of the Republican Party.
LAMB: When the impeachment came of Andrew Johnson, where was Rutherford B. Hayes?
HOOGENBOOM: Hayes, at that point, was back in Ohio as governor, but he was ardently in favor of impeachment. He was a radical Republican in Congress, supported radical measures, and consistently supported radical measures.
LAMB: And then Ulysses S. Grant, Republican, two terms.
LAMB: And Rutherford B. Hayes, his party was ...
HOOGENBOOM: Hayes was a Republican and Hayes was -- you would say in 19th century terms, they'd say the available man in 1876. He had impeccable, radical credentials at the same time as the governor of Ohio. He was a moderate. He was in favor of civil service reform. He was certainly an anti corruptionist. He had a tremendous war record, and he came from Ohio, which was a state that the Republicans had to carry if they were going to win the election.
LAMB: When was this picture taken?
HOOGENBOOM: That's at the beginning of the Civil War. Hayes volunteered and served exactly four years in the Civil War.
LAMB: So was he there the entire four years of the Civil War?
HOOGENBOOM: Yeah. Basically, he was a colonel in the Civil War, and he regarded himself as one of the good colonels. And he did become a general ultimately, but as he said, "I never fought a battle as a general" -- "with the title of general," because the promotion to general came after he fought his last battle, and was wounded his fifth time, I might add. No President of the United States has seen as much frontline action as Hayes did. And no President was wounded as many times ...
LAMB: Five times?
HOOGENBOOM: Five times, yeah.
LAMB: Any of them ...
HOOGENBOOM: Most of them were -- one was very serious. His arm -- he was shot in his left arm, and the bone was broken -- fortunately, not shattered. If it was shattered, they would have hacked it off because they didn't play -- they just didn't try to set any bones that were shattered. They ...
LAMB: Now this picture -- do you remember this one?
HOOGENBOOM: Yes. That's his men of the 23rd Ohio ...
LAMB: Which one is he?
HOOGENBOOM: They're all bearded. He's the bearded one at the table.
LAMB: Right here?
HOOGENBOOM: No, I think he's the next one in. Actually, the second man. Yes, I think that's the man. I think that is Hayes.
LAMB: So four years in the Army?
HOOGENBOOM: Four years in the Army as a colonel -- he typified in many ways the value of these civilian officers, because Hayes, as a colonel, was able to mediate between the West Point trained higher officers and the volunteer soldiers and officers in the Army. Hayes kind of understood both sides. Sometimes they'd have -- well, when the 23rd didn't get rifled muskets -- started out with smooth bore muskets, very inaccurate weapons -- they didn't get them when they were promised; the men were virtually mutinying. And their West Point commander over Hayes didn't really quite understand the men, but Hayes spoke to the men, calmed them down, told them guns would be coming, to be patient, remember the goal that they had: preserve the Union; also, got back to the immediate commander and calmed him down. And that was rather typical of a lot of these volunteer officers in the Civil War Army.
LAMB: Go back just for a moment.
LAMB: 1876, he was President for four years. Who was then elected after him?
HOOGENBOOM: James Garfield.
LAMB: And you mentioned earlier, U.S. Grant had an Ohio connection.
LAMB: Was he born there?
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, Grant was born in Ohio. He, of course, grew up in Illinois, but he was Ohio born.
LAMB: And James Garfield's from Cleveland?
HOOGENBOOM: Yes, fairly near Cleveland. He's up in the Western Reserve area of Ohio, yes. Mentor, I guess, is the name of the small town that he came from.
LAMB: And Benjamin Harrison, who you mentioned in the Thomas Wolfe ...
HOOGENBOOM: Born also in Ohio, although he was elected from Indiana.
LAMB: And then there was William McKinley from Ohio ...
HOOGENBOOM: Right. And McKinley was in Hayes' outfit. McKinley volunteered as a private in that 23rd Ohio Volunteer Regiment. That one regiment gave the United States two Presidents.
LAMB: What was it about Ohio back then?
HOOGENBOOM: Crucial state -- I guess that pretty much sums it up. I mentioned the availability before. The Republicans had to carry Ohio, therefore, a nominee from Ohio would make sense -- no point nominating somebody from Pennsylvania because Pennsylvania would vote Republican no matter who was on the ballot. That's why New York gets a lot of Presidents, too, because it's a state that must be carried, and if you have a favorite son that might very well carry that state, well, that's a real plus. Indiana was another doubtful state in the Gilded Age period, and so you do have a number of -- well, Harrison came from Indiana. The running mate of Samuel Jones Tilden came from Indiana, so that Indiana also gets a fair amount of candidates; but Ohio more than anybody else.
LAMB: Go back to the election. You devote a whole chapter to that election.
LAMB: And people often refer back to it these days, as you've said earlier, as one of the more precarious times in our history. Samuel Tilden was from where?
HOOGENBOOM: New York.
LAMB: And what was he doing before he ran for President?
HOOGENBOOM: He was a railroad attorney, primarily, in private life, but he was governor of New York and a Democrat, and a very skilled politician, very skilled at organizing the Democratic Party.
LAMB: And he ran in 1876 -- there only the two candidates?
HOOGENBOOM: Well, yes, for all practical purposes, yes.
LAMB: And when it was all over, who had the most votes -- popular votes?
HOOGENBOOM: The most popular votes that were cast were had by Tilden by a long shot. There were probably 250,000 more votes.
LAMB: Do you remember how many people voted altogether?
HOOGENBOOM: Sorry. I couldn't tell you exactly. A couple of million. It's not a huge electorate, because women weren't voting.
LAMB: And so there's just no question, though, that Samuel Tilden won the popularity contest?
HOOGENBOOM: No, no question at all about winning the popular vote.
LAMB: And what about the electoral vote?
HOOGENBOOM: There, Tilden had one vote -- was certain of one vote less than he needed for election. Hayes was certain of considerably fewer votes. But if you added the votes of Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana to Hayes' total, he would win the election by one vote. All Tilden had to do was pick up one vote -- one electoral vote from any one of those three states -- South Carolina, Florida, or Louisianand -- both the Republicans and the Democrats claimed to have carried those three states.
LAMB: How did they deal with it?
HOOGENBOOM: First, they sent representatives down to those states to try to convince the local canvasing boards -- the official returning boards in those states -- Republicans that Republicans won, Democrats that Democrats won. Round one, the Republicans win. The Republicans controlled the returning boards in those states, and they all threw out enough Democratic votes to give the Republicans majorities. And they did this -- they had a perfect legal right to do this, because in areas where there was intimidation of voters, these returning boards were empowered to throw out the entire vote of those precincts, those districts, those counties, even. And so what you have -- it's really a struggle between Democratic intimidation, on one hand, prior to the election -- or on Election Day, and Republican frauds, on the other hand, the throwing out of Democratic votes. And the question is, "Did the Republicans commit more frauds than the Democrats intimidated voters?" The ...
LAMB: What was the Electoral Commission?
HOOGENBOOM: To solve this, the returns went back to Washington. And the Democrats had control of the House of Representatives, and they were not about to stand idly by while Hayes was counted into the Presidency by the President of the Senate, who counts the electoral votes. And he counts the electoral votes before, in the presence of both houses of Congress. Only extreme supporters of Hayes said that the President of the Senate could count the votes, make the decision and Congress would just watch. All Democrats and many, many Republicans thought that some kind of commission had to be created to give the winner of that election some kind of legitimacy and not just simply being counted in an arbitrary manner.
LAMB: How old was he when he was President?
HOOGENBOOM: How old was he? He was born in 1822, so that would make him 54 -- 55.
LAMB: And the commission, made up of 15 members ...
HOOGENBOOM: Right -- evenly divided.
LAMB: Fifteen members evenly divided?
HOOGENBOOM: Except for one Supreme Court justice that originally was supposed to be an Independent, David Davis from Illinois. Davis was elected Senator from Illinois at the very moment of the passage of the Electoral Commission's act, and then the justices on the court, as they were empowered by the legislation, selected the fifth member from the Supreme Court, and that happened to be Republican.
LAMB: So you had five members of the House, five members of the Senate,five members of the Supreme Court.
HOOGENBOOM: Yeah. Three two, three two, and then two two, plus one, but the one ultimately turned out to be a Republican.
LAMB: How did the Democrats allow that to happen?
HOOGENBOOM: It was really a monumental miscalculation on the part of Democrats in Illinois. And Tilden's nephew, who was involved in influencing the Illinois state Legislature to elect David Davis -- they assumed that David Davis would be beholden to the Democratic Party for making him Senator and that he would stay on the commission and that he would vote for Tilden, as a result. David Davis was so thankful to get off the hook -- because, in effect, he would be individually deciding the election -- that he was perfectly happy to disqualify himself from the commission, which he did. And then a Republican was selected.
LAMB: Give us the timing of all that. In those days -- what was it? -- March 4th -- when ...
HOOGENBOOM: March 4, when they inaugurated the President. The electors met in states around December 1st. The Congress began trying to count these votes, debating over this, throughout December. The Commission bill passes, and in January, the count begins. And the count goes smoothly, quickly, until they hit Florida, one of the disputed states; then both houses of Congress adjourned and the Commission -- the Electoral Count Commission met. And then they heard arguments and finally settled the Florida case on the basis that they would not go behind the official returns and they would not hear evidence about fraud in Florida or, for that matter, intimidation in Florida. They wouldn't go behind those returns; they would just simply accept the official returns as certified by the returning boards -- the canvasing boards in those states.
LAMB: James Garfield was a member of the Commission?
HOOGENBOOM: He was a member.
LAMB: What was he doing at that same time?
HOOGENBOOM: Well, it's curious. He is, quote, "one of the members for the House," and he had actually gone South himself, and he had participated in the work. He was a so called visiting statesman in the South and counseling the Republicans in Louisiana on throwing out Democratic votes. And then he is appointed the commission as well and sat on the commission, basically, in judgment of the work that he did in Louisiana. In fact, that only points up the political nature of this whole compromise.
LAMB: Could this whole thing happen today?
HOOGENBOOM: One doubts it. We possibly came close to it in 1960, in the Kennedy Nixon election, but Nixon did not want to contest the election. Presidents today and Presidential candidates today have a good deal more say over their campaigns than either Hayes or Tilden had in 1876. American parties tend to be decentralized, anyhow. They were more decentralized in 1876 and the decision to dispute the election -- I should say that Hayes thought he lost the election, and Hayes thought he lost the election several days after the election and he would not have contested it at all. The decision to contest the election was made at the Republican National Headquarters in New York City, and that whole -- a rather bizarre affair with a man named Daniel Sickles making the key decision to send out telegrams. The Republican National chairman, Zack Chandler, had actually gone to bed with a bottle of whiskey to console himself because of the loss of the election.
LAMB: You just mentioned whiskey.
LAMB: There was none of that in the White House. How come?
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, that's right. Yes.
LAMB: How come?
HOOGENBOOM: Yes. Actually, there was some alcohol served at the first state dinner for some visiting royalty from Russia, but Hayes decided not to have any in the White House, which pleased his wife, who, of course, people now refer to as Lemonade Lucy, which is quite unfair. Nobody referred to her as Lemonade Lucy at the time. Hayes made that decision. He didn't like to see Congressmen and their cups primarily, but he also made that decision for sound political reasons. Hayes was opposed to Prohibition. He was in favor of temperance. He himself was a temperate drinker, until he went into the White House, but then he became a total abstainer in the White House. And he just thought he would set a good example, and he thought that that's the way the temperance movement should go, that a good example should be set, and he thought a good example would be set by him and Lucy not serving wine in the White House.
LAMB: What year was this taken?
HOOGENBOOM: This was taken during his administration. They stopped serving wine fairly early in his administration.
LAMB: I mean this picture right here.
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, that picture is the end of his -- about 1881. It's a portrait that was actually paid for by the WCTU. Hayes was a bit annoyed at the WCTU because they were trying to raise funds with it, and he told them to stop it.
LAMB: The Women's Christian Temperance Union?
HOOGENBOOM: Yes. By the way, there's a shrewd political argument, though, by Hayes behind this whole issue. He figured that if he made this kind of public stand that Republicans who are temperance minded would not join the Prohibitionist Party. And the Prohibitionist Party was really quite weak in -- it was an important third party, but it was quite weak in the election of 1880 at the end of the Hayes administration. Garfield reintroduced liquor into the White House, even though Garfield was a minister, and Chester Arthur, who succeeded Garfield after Garfield was assassinated, continued to serve liquor in the White House. Blaine lost the next election by the narrowest of margins.
LAMB: Who was Blaine?
HOOGENBOOM: Blaine was the Republican nominee in 1884. And he lost the election primarily because of the defection of upstate Republicans from the Republican Party into the Prohibitionist Party. Hayes predicted this. He said, "Don't give up on this idea, because this" -- it basically was a shrewd political move, because those who drank didn't really care whether Hayes had liquor in the White House or not and those who didn't drink were very happy about it.
LAMB: Southern policy.
LAMB: Slavery. Where did he come down on all these?
HOOGENBOOM: He was very much opposed to slavery, defended runaway slaves. Early in the Civil War, he was convinced that it was a crusade to end slavery, and he felt that a good half of his life was spent in a crusade against slavery.
LAMB: Where did that come from?
HOOGENBOOM: Lucy, to a large extent. In her family, there were abolitionist sentiments, and Hayes had always been anti slavery, but never strong enough to really do much about it. But after he married Lucy, he began defending runaway slaves.
LAMB: So in 1876, in the Reconstruction period -- by the way, how long did the Reconstruction period go on?
HOOGENBOOM: Well, it began immediately after the war -- well, toward the end of the war, actually, and lasted, technically, until 1877. And Hayes is renowned or castigated for ending it, but that's kind of an exaggeration.
LAMB: What did it mean?
HOOGENBOOM: The end of Reconstruction in 1877 meant the removal of the federal troops that were supporting Republican governments at the capitals of Louisiana, in New Orleans, and South Carolina -- Columbia, South Carolina. These Republican governments, supported by federal troops, had control of a few square blocks, and that's about it, around those capitals. The rest of those states had already been taken over by rival Democratic white supremacy governments.
LAMB: So what was the controversy over pulling those troops out?
HOOGENBOOM: Oh. Well, he big problem when Hayes came into the White House -- the Reconstruction had ended, except in those two places. Hayes was faced with the problem of what to do about these Republican regimes that were still existing by a thin thread in both of those states. Wwhat it really boiled down to is that Hayes did not really have a decision whether to withdraw those troops. His decision was, when would he withdraw those troops and what could he possibly extract from Southerners in exchange for withdrawing those troops? I say that because, one, he was elected with the poorest of mandates, which we already mentioned a while back. The whole country was suffering from a great depression, and people were really more concerned about getting a job rather than politics in the South. Northerners were no longer interested in maintaining a military presence in the South, what its enemies called a bayonet rule. The Democrats had control of the House of Representatives, and the Democrats had already refused to appropriate money to the US Army. The US Army was very small and very weak -- about 25,000 men, most of them out in the West, along the Mexican border as well.
So it just simply was an impossible situation for Hayes without any support from public opinion with his poor mandate, impossible for him to really sustain Reconstruction. Ulysses S. Grant had already ordered the withdrawal of troops from Louisiana at the end of the controversy over the disputed election. And Hayes, in all probability, countermanded that order, because it never really was carried out, and he was close to William Tecumseh Sherman at the time who was head of the Army -- at the time that should have been carried out. But then what Hayes did was, he extracted from South Carolina Democrats and from Louisiana Democrats, a solemn promises that the civil rights of black and white Republicans would be carefully preserved, and also equal educational opportunities, which Hayes felt were terribly important. And this was pledged by the Hampton government in South Carolina, the Nicholls' government in Louisiana -- these Democratic governments, and they reneged on their promises within six months, certainly within a year.
LAMB: What's the origin of the name Ari Hoogenboom?
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, it's my dad's name. My father was a sailor; he came from Holland and jumped ship in New York in 1920; met my mother and married her; became a carpenter. And when I came along, I was named for him. In Holland, the name is spelled A R I E. A mistake was made on a birth certificate. My dad perpetuated that, and I've perpetuated it, as you mentioned before, with my son.
LAMB: And you say you're at Brooklyn College. Do you teach?
HOOGENBOOM: I teach, yes.
LAMB: What course?
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, I teach courses in the Gilded Age and political parties, but most of my work is really with freshmen college students and teaching a course that we call Core 4 or the Shaping of the Modern World, which really is the history of the Atlantic world; at least the way I teach it, it comes out as the history of the Atlantic world, Europe and America, primarily. And the interplay between the United States and Europe or the point counterpoint between American history and European history, influenced by Europe; in turn, we influence Europe, back and forth.
LAMB: The dedication to the book.
HOOGENBOOM: To my sister and my mother.
LAMB: And your mother is no longer here?
HOOGENBOOM: That's right. My mother died many years ago. My sister is a high school teacher, and she went to college. I think I may very well have -- if it weren't for her influence, I think I may very well have become a carpenter. I worked with my dad a good deal, and indeed, I worked on construction when I was in graduate school, and I might very well not have gone to college at all. But she went to Queens College at the end of the Depression and then I also -- inspired by her, I went to college. I always did like history, and I majored in history and ...
LAMB: Is she older?
HOOGENBOOM: Yes. She ...
LAMB: Where is she now?
HOOGENBOOM: She's in Nassau County, in the New York area, yes. She taught high school for many, many years and retired.
LAMB: In the introduction, you bring up two names. One of them's an Ohioan, Thomas Edison, who -- didn't he demonstrate the phonograph to Rutherford B. Hayes?
HOOGENBOOM: Yes. He was in town -- Hayes heard he was in town -- and Hayes got him to come to the White House. He came late in the evening, and then Hayes sent and awakened his wife and their guest. They always had a lot of guests in the White House when they were there. They were a very open -- Western, open hospitality, and Lucy had always had a bevy of young women from Ohio. And Lucy was a very, very jolly, cheerful person and very vivacious -- incredibly vivacious.
LAMB: The other name is Ralph Waldo Emerson.
HOOGENBOOM: Yes. Hayes said he almost worshipped Emerson. It's kind of curious, when Hayes heard him in Cincinnati, Hayes was somewhat critical of Emerson, saying that he strings out ideas and a lot of times, it's difficult to see the connections between them. But later on in life, he read Emerson and Emerson's essays many times, and ...
LAMB: Did he know him?
HOOGENBOOM: Yes, he did. He met Emerson in Cincinnati as a young man. He saw Emerson later when he was President. In fact, it's kind of a poignant thing that Hayes mentions -- that when he met Emerson, Emerson kind of tapped his head, and essentially said that his memory just simply wasn't what it was and testifying to his mental deterioration there, which made Hayes feel very badly. But up until Hayes' death, he would read and reread Emerson's essays.
LAMB: Bully pulpit.
HOOGENBOOM: Yes. Hayes traveled more than anybody up to that date. In fact, they called him Rutherford the Rover.
LAMB: How'd he do it?
HOOGENBOOM: Train, mostly. He went on long trips late in the summer, after business was pretty much wrapped up in Washington -- late summer, early fall. He used these -- he didn't campaign. He wouldn't campaign for individual candidates, but he would preach the particular doctrines, policies, that he was very much in favor of and would give these rather short speeches -- sound bites -- short speeches that would elaborate on one issue and wouldn't tire the audience but would hammer home his point of view. But it's ...
LAMB: These kids -- by the way, just before we lose this picture, are these all his kids?
HOOGENBOOM: Yeah. Those are all of them -- all the surviving kids, yes.
LAMB: Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you. Do you want to finish that thought?
HOOGENBOOM: About ...
LAMB: Do you remember what I wanted -- I shouldn't have done that to you.
HOOGENBOOM: Yeah. That's OK. I was just simply saying that he used the opportunity to travel -- he traveled -- first President to travel to California to put across the policies that he was in favor of. In other words, what he tried to do was, he anticipated Presidential politics of the 20th century. In many ways, he -- well, a lot of people say this about a lot of Presidents -- the first modern President. He fought battles with Congress over the power of appointment. He had a tremend -- and he won. He defeated the notion of Senatorial courtesy. He had a tremendous battle with the Democrats over vetoes -- the Democrats attaching riders to appropriations bills. There's legislation on needed appropriations bills to force Hayes to accept the legislation because he needed money to run the government. And Hayes vetoed them and went through a long battle. The legislation was to repeal enforcement acts to the 14th and 15th Amendments, voting rights -- the Voting Rights Amendment and Civil Rights Amendments. And Hayes defeated the Democrats, so that Hayes, at the end of his Presidency, was making appointments that he wanted to make, and the veto, which he used very freely, enabled him to prevent the Democrats from pushing through legislation that Hayes did not want.
LAMB: What would he be like today, do you think?
HOOGENBOOM: Today? I'd suspect he'd be a liberal Democrat.
LAMB: A liberal Democrat.
HOOGENBOOM: Yeah. Yeah. He was really a precursor of the Progressive movement. He was opposed to what he called plutocracy, a maldistribution of wealth. He was very much in favor of traditional republican -- that's with a small R -- values of political equality, of equality of economic opportunities -- political equality for everybody -- equality of economic opportunity for everybody -- and that's why he stressed education so much -- but also, to a degree, economic equality. He favored confiscatory inheritance taxes. He didn't think -- well, he just simply didn't think that large estates should be passed on to children.
LAMB: Do these labels, then, mean anything today?
HOOGENBOOM: Well ...
LAMB: If he were going to be a liberal Democrat, if he were around today, what ...
HOOGENBOOM: Well, but many Republicans, late 19th century, were -- remember, it's the Republican Party that ended slavery and the Republican Party that backed Reconstruction. The Republicans have become a good deal more conservative in the 20th century.
LAMB: What was James Garfield like, politically?
HOOGENBOOM: Garfield was not quite as committed as Hayes was to equality of economic opportunity. But in fairness to Garfield, Garfield did not have time to really be President. He just had a couple of months.
LAMB: About how long was it, six months?
HOOGENBOOM: It was only six months, but he was grievously wounded for a couple of those months.
LAMB: And what was the reaction on the part of Rutherford B. Hayes when he was wounded and ...
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, Hayes felt terrible about -- oh, you mean when Hayes was wounded on the battlefield?
LAMB: No. I mean, in other words, had President Hayes gone back to Spiegel Grove?
HOOGENBOOM: He was in Ohio, back home, and he felt dreadful. He was annoyed at Garfield because Garfield was backtracking on civil service reform, in which Hayes had scored some noticeable advances by instituting reform in the New York post office and custom house. And, by the way, it's the success of civil service reform in those two offices under Hayes' auspices that enabled the reformers to say, "The system works." And when the Pendleton civil service reform bill came up in 1883, they could argue that it was not a figment of theoreticians' imagination, but actually was a workable, practical system. So ...
LAMB: Is this a fair -- I guess it is, because you actually wrote it -- Hayes' motto. And I'll read it. "When you don't know what to say, say nothing." I found that on Page 119, earlier in the book. That was during the time when he was in the ...
HOOGENBOOM: Well, that was when he was in the Army.
LAMB: But I got the impression from what you wrote that during the time that the Election Commission was meeting, he didn't say much, either.
HOOGENBOOM: He didn't, simply because he wasn't really expected to, but he did make this clear. He made it clear that his program -- and he outlined this in his acceptance letter, which is his statement of what he thought the campaign should be based on -- that he was willing to give home rule to the South, as long as the South would adhere to the 14th and 15th Amendments. And he didn't really stray from that. And whatever bargaining there was -- and there was -- there was not as much bargaining as people make out that there was; people negotiated and people made agreements, but those agreements didn't have a great deal to do with the outcome of the filibuster, when the election was finally decided.
LAMB: Go through the basics very quickly, from beginning to end, starting with, say, you know, Cincinnati, Kenyon College, Harvard?
HOOGENBOOM: Harvard Law School. Fremont, Ohio, was called Lower Sandusky then. Actually, Hayes was instrumental in changing the name -- about five years or so there. He visited Texas in those years, a college mate, and saw slavery firsthand.
LAMB: Elected to Congress when?
HOOGENBOOM: Elected to Congress immediately -- well, he was still in the Army when he was elected. He did not campaign. He was campaigning in Virginia. He didn't politically campaign ...
LAMB: He was in the war.
HOOGENBOOM: He was still in the war. But Congress didn't meet until December of 1865, so he didn't miss any sessions in Congress.
LAMB: Governor for how many times?
HOOGENBOOM: Governor three times -- three term governor.
LAMB: How long?
HOOGENBOOM: They're two year terms. And the third term was interrupted by the Presidency. And as governor, by the way -- was instrumental in the passage of the 15th Amendment. He pushed that through the Legislature of Ohio -- that's the Voting Rights Amendment -- black voting rights amendment. Also Ohio State University -- instrumental in establishing it.
LAMB: And one term President.
LAMB: Went back to Spiegel Grove in Fremont, Ohio. Lived there for how long before he died?
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, died in '93 -- January of '93, so 12 years.
LAMB: How old?
HOOGENBOOM: Seventy one.
LAMB: And what did he die of?
HOOGENBOOM: A heart attack. And he hadn't been in bed since his very serious wound in the Civil War, and his arm was shattered -- in bed sick until he had this heart attack.
LAMB: And then how long did his wife Lucy live?
HOOGENBOOM: Oh, she died a couple of years before him.
LAMB: Oh, she died? When?
HOOGENBOOM: Yeah. She predeceased him. She died in '89. He missed her dreadfully. He was very much devoted to her, and, as he said, "The life has just gone out of the house," and pretty much out of his life. But on the other hand, then he'd get interested in these educational projects. And he was always interested in young people and found himself refreshed.
LAMB: This photograph on the cover of the book -- you can see it in the background here -- is what age, do you know?
HOOGENBOOM: He's President, so he's in his 50s there.
LAMB: Ari Hoogenboom of Brooklyn College and author of this book, "Rutherford B. Hayes: Warrior & President." We're out of time. We thank you.
HOOGENBOOM: Thank you.
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