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

I am a radical in thought (and principle) and a conservative in method (and conduct).

Let every man, every corporation, and especially let every village, town, and city, every county and State, get out of debt and keep out of debt. It is the debtor that is ruined by hard times.

The bold enterprises are the successful ones. Take counsel of hopes rather than of fears to win in this business.

There can be no complete and permanent reform of the civil service until public opinion emancipates congressmen from all control and influence over government patronage. Legislation is required to establish the reform. No proper legislation is to be expected as long as members of Congress are engaged in procuring offices for their constituents.

While your rheumatism stays with you I naturally feel anxious to hear often. If you should be so unlucky as to become a cripple, it will certainly be bad, but you may be sure I shall be still a loving husband, and we shall make the best of it together.

Abolish plutocracy if you would abolish poverty. As millionaires increase, pauperism grows. The more millionaires, the more paupers.

I am heartily tired of this life of bondage, responsibility, and toil. I wish it was at an end.... We are both physically very healthy.... Our tempers are cheerful. We are social and popular. But it is one of our greatest comforts that the pledge not to take a second term relieves us from considering it. That was a lucky thing. It is a reform — or rather a precedent for a reform, which will be valuable.

Let me assure my countrymen of the Southern States that it is my earnest desire to regard and promote their truest interest — the interests of the white and of the colored people both and equally — and to put forth my best efforts in behalf of a civil policy which will forever wipe out in our political affairs the color line and the distinction between North and South, to the end that we may have not merely a united North or a united South, but a united country.

The debt was the most sacred obligation incurred during the war. It was by no means the largest in amount. We do not haggle with those who lent us money. We should not with those who gave health and blood and life. If doors are opened to fraud, contrive to close them. But don’t deny the obligation, or scold at its performance.

These semi-traitors [Union generals who were not hostile to slavery] must be watched. — Let us be careful who become army leaders in the reorganized army at the end of this Rebellion. The man who thinks that the perpetuity of slavery is essential to the existence of the Union, is unfit to be trusted. The deadliest enemy the Union has is slavery — in fact, its only enemy.

You use the phrase brutal Rebels. Don’t be cheated in that way. There are enough brutal Rebels no doubt, but we have brutal officers and men too. I have had men brutally treated by our own officers on this raid [to Lynchburg, Va.]. And there are plenty of humane Rebels. I have seen a good deal of it on this trip. War is a cruel business and there is brutality in it on all sides, but it is very idle to get up anxiety on account of any supposed peculiar cruelty on the part of Rebels. Keepers of prisons in Cincinnati, as well as in Danville, are hard-hearted and cruel.

All appointments hurt. Five friends are made cold or hostile for every appointment; no new friends are made. All patronage is perilous to men of real ability or merit. It aids only those who lack other claims to public support.

I am less disposed to think of a West Point education as requisite for this business than I was at first. Good sense and energy are the qualities required.

My only objection to the arrangements there is the two-in-a-bed system. It is bad.... But let your words and conduct be perfectly pure — such as your mother might know without bringing a blush to your cheek.... If not already mentioned, do not tell your mother of the doubling in bed.

The filth and noise of the crowded streets soon destroy the elasticity of health which belongs to the country boy.

This is a government of the people, by the people and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations.

Youth, however, is a defect that she is fast getting away from and may perhaps be entirely rid of before I shall want her.

As friends go it is less important to live.

I am loaded down to the guards with educational, benevolent, and other miscellaneous public work, I must not attempt to do more. I cannot without neglecting imperative duties.

My policy is trust, peace, and to put aside the bayonet. I do not think the wise policy is to decide contested elections in the States by the use of the national army.

The general review of the past tends to satisfy me with my political life. No man, I suppose, ever came up to his ideal. The first half [of] my political life was first to resist the increase of slavery and secondly to destroy it.... The second half of my political life has been to rebuild, and to get rid of the despotic and corrupting tendencies and the animosities of the war, and other legacies of slavery.

To vote is like the payment of a debt, a duty never to be neglected, if its performance is possible.

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.

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