Who is the Most Attractive US President of All Time?

Who is the most attractive President of all time?

It’s not the gorgeous Barak Obama or the zesty Bill Clinton or the tragically beautiful John F. Kennedy or either of the Roosevelts or even Baberaham Lincoln…

That’s right friends, it’s Rutherford B. Hayes.”

History That Doesn’t Suck podcast

In 1877, President-Elect Rutherford B. Hayes was Privately Sworn-In Two Days Early. Here’s Why…

By Ken Zurski

On the evening of March 3, 1877, a Saturday, President Ulysses S. Grant, the popular Civil War general turned commander-in-chief, who had served two terms and was only days from leaving office, invited several friends to the White House for a private dinner.

On the guest list that night was the man who would succeed Grant as president, Rutherford B. Hayes.

Hayes had just been declared the winner of the contentious 1876 election over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, a Yale-educated lawyer and governor of New York, who some say beat Hayes outright, but lost the bitter debate that followed. On November 9, the day after the general election, tallies showed that Tilden won the popular vote and picked up more electoral votes than Hayes at 184 to 165, with 20 still undecided.

In question were the southern states where Republicans accused the Democrats of widespread voter fraud, specifically the suppression of the black vote. No winner was declared and nothing was resolved. By the end of 1876, the Centennial year, a nation was left hanging by an undecided outcome. Grant was convinced that if the blacks in the south had been allowed to vote as law permitted, Hayes would have won easily.

In January 1877, thanks to a measure passed by Congress and approved by Grant, the election was put in the hands of an appointed committee, made up of a combined fifteen lawmakers and Supreme Court justices. Party membership was evenly divided between the ten congressmen. As for the five justices chosen, four were considered partisan – two Republicans and two Democrats – and one independent, presumably the deciding vote.

In a decision known as The Compromise of 1877, Justice Joseph Bradley voted in favor of the Republicans and tipped the balance to Hayes awarding him the presidency by one electoral vote. So on Saturday, March 3, just days before he was set to relinquish the office, President Grant invited Hayes to the White House along with some other close friends for a welcoming dinner.

It turned out to be significantly more.

Also in attendance that night was Chief Justice Morrison Waite, whom Grant had appointed to the high court in 1874 and was eventually nominated to replace longstanding Chief Justice Salmon Chase, who died the year before. The day of the inauguration was by law scheduled for March 4. That year, the date fell on a Sunday. Hayes refused to be inaugurated on the Sabbath and it was changed to the following day, Monday, March 5, instead.

Grant was worried Tilden, still reeling from the committee’s decision, might stir up an angry base that had hinted at a government coup. Rumors persisted that Tilden, in an unprecedented act of defiance, would take the oath of office in New York on the actual inauguration date, March 4, and in effect protest the legality of Hayes’ appointment.

So Grant requested Hayes take the oath that night in private. That way if Tilden tried to undermine the process, at least the Republicans could counter that Hayes was already in charge. As it turned out, Grant’s fears about Tilden were unwarranted. Two days later, without incident, Hayes repeated the words on the east portico of the Capitol.

Today, in history’s discerning eye, the decision to swear in the President-elect a few days early is either downplayed as political ostentation or attributed directly to Grant’s eagerness to leave the presidency.

No doubt, Grant was counting down the days.

If you enjoyed this article, try the podcast: “History That Doesn’t Suck.” I listen to HTDS a lot. It’s available through all the podcast sources.

Debora Ragland Buerk
The Write Stuff
Looking at life from a different POV.

Source: “The Revolution” newsletter. Copyright (C) 2023 History That Doesn’t Suck. All rights reserved.