Rutherford B. Hayes had been a Union general in the Civil War, and
he won a controversial election by just one electoral vote. His first
important act in office was to end Reconstruction by removing the
last of the federal troops from the South, which won over his Democratic
critics, but alienated many within his own party. Hayes attacked the
corrupt patronage system, personally firing future 21st president
Chester A. Arthur from a powerful position he had been rewarded with.
In 1879, Hayes vetoed Congress's first ban on Chinese immigration.