Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893)
Nineteenth President, 1877-1881
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.