Rutherford B. Hayes, fully Rutherford Birchard Hayes

Rutherford B.
Hayes, fully Rutherford Birchard Hayes
1822
1893

American Politician, 19th President of the United States who oversaw the end of Reconstruction

Author Quotes

As knowledge spreads, wealth spreads. To diffuse knowledge is to diffuse wealth. To give all an equal chance to acquire knowledge is the best and surest way to give all an equal chance to acquire property.

I am not liked as a President by the politicians in office, in the press, or in Congress. But I am content to abide the judgment the sober second thought of the people.

My speaking is irregular. Sometimes quite good, sometimes not, but generally will do... I am too far along in experience and years both for this business. I do not go into [it] with the zest of old times. Races, baseball, and politics are for the youngsters.

The honor of success is increased by the obstacles which are to be surmounted. Let me triumph as a man or not at all.

Universal suffrage is sound in principle. The radical element is right.

As to Mr. Lincoln’s name and fame and memory, — all is safe. His firmness, moderation, goodness of heart; his quaint humor, his perfect honesty and directness of purpose; his logic his modesty his sound judgment, and great wisdom; the contrast between his obscure beginnings and the greatness of his subsequent position and achievements; his tragic death, giving him almost the crown of martyrdom, elevate him to a place in history second to none other of ancient or modern times. His success in his great office, his hold upon the confidence and affections of his countrymen, we shall all say are only second to Washington’s; we shall probably feel and think that they are not second even to his.

I feel the desire to be with you all the time. Oh, an occasional absence of a week or two is a good thing to give one the happiness of meeting again, but this living apart is in all ways bad. We have had our share of separate life during the four years of war. There is nothing in the small ambition of Congressional life, or in the gratified vanity which it sometimes affords, to compensate for separation from you. We must manage to live together hereafter. I can’t stand this, and will not.

No person connected with me by blood or marriage will be appointed to office.

The independence of all political and other bother is a happiness.

Universal suffrage should rest upon universal education. To this end, liberal and permanent provision should be made for the support of free schools by the State governments, and, if need be, supplemented by legitimate aid from national authority.

Coming in, I was denounced as a fraud by all the extreme men of the opposing party, and as an ingrate and a traitor by the same class of men in my own party. Going out, I have the good will, blessings, and approval of the best people of all parties and sections.

I have a talent for silence and brevity. I can keep silent when it seems best to do so, and when I speak I can, and do usually, quit when I am done. This talent, or these two talents, I have cultivated. Silence and concise, brief speaking have got me some laurels, and, I suspect, lost me some. No odds. Do what is natural to you, and you are sure to get all the recognition you are entitled to.

Nobody ever left the presidency with less regret, less disappointment, fewer heart burnings, or any general content with the result of his term (in his own heart, I mean) than I do. Full of difficulty and trouble at first, I now find myself on smooth waters and under bright skies.

The melancholy thing in our public life is the insane desire to get higher.

Unjust attacks on public men do them more good than unmerited praise.

Conscience is the authentic voice of God to you.

I hope you will be benefitted by your churchgoing. Where the habit does not Christianize, it generally civilizes. That is reason enough for supporting churches, if there were no higher.

Nothing brings out the lower traits of human nature like office-seeking. Men of good character and impulses are betrayed by it into all sorts of meanness.

The only road, the sure road to unquestioned credit and a sound financial condition is the exact and punctual fulfilment of every pecuniary obligation, public and private, according to its letter and spirit.

Virtue is defined to be mediocrity, of which either extreme is vice.

Constitutional statutes ... which embody the settled public opinion of the people who enacted them and whom they are to govern — can always be enforced. But if they embody only the sentiments of a bare majority, pronounced under the influence of a temporary excitement, they will, if strenuously opposed, always fail of their object; nay, they are likely to injure the cause they are framed to advance.

I never enjoyed any business or mode of life as much as I do this. I really feel badly when I think of several of my intimate friends who are compelled to stay at home. These marches and campaigns in the hills of western Virginia will always be among the pleasantest things I can remember. I know we are in frequent perils, that we may never return and all that, but the feeling that I am where I ought to be is a full compensation for all that is sinister, leaving me free to enjoy as if on a pleasure tour.

One of its [James A. Garfield’s assassination] lessons, perhaps its most important lesson, is the folly, the wickedness, and the danger of the extreme and bitter partisanship which so largely prevails in our country. This partisan bitterness is greatly aggravated by that system of appointments and removals which deals with public offices as rewards for services rendered to political parties or to party leaders. Hence crowds of importunate place-hunters of whose dregs Guiteau is the type. The required reform [of the civil service] will be accomplished whenever the people imperatively demand it, not only of their Executive, but also of their legislative officers. With it, the class to which the assassin belongs will lose their occupation, and the temptation to try to administer government by assassination will be taken away.

The President of the United States of necessity owes his election to office to the suffrage and zealous labors of a political party... but he should strive to be always mindful of the fact that he serves his party best who serves the country best.

Wars will remain while human nature remains. I believe in my soul in cooperation, in arbitration; but the soldier's occupation we cannot say is gone until human nature is gone.

Author Picture
First Name
Rutherford B.
Last Name
Hayes, fully Rutherford Birchard Hayes
Birth Date
1822
Death Date
1893
Bio

American Politician, 19th President of the United States who oversaw the end of Reconstruction