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Post Civil War: The Gilded Age

1340 words - 6 pages

The Gilded Age was the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War. During this time period, the recently separated North and South were piecing back together as one united nation. After being enemies for so long reuniting as a whole seemed easier than perceived to be, and required strong leadership to aide in the process. Unfortunately, many historians believe that this Reconstruction period did not experience the luxury of having these elite rulers. Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, and Benjamin Harrison deserve their historic reputation as they failed to maintain control of the country, and lacked authority when making decisions. However Rutherford B. Hayes and James Garfield do not ...view middle of the document...

As part of being an honest man, one of the first things Hayes did in office was tackle the issue of civil service reform. Hayes went after the New York Customhouse, which collected large amounts of tax money (Matuz). During his investigation, it was revealed the customhouse was indeed overstaffed and quite a few of its employees did minimal work. Hayes was successful in cleaning out the customhouse of excess employees and continued on his mission to abolish to spoils system. This act by Hayes showed his loyalty to his beliefs; his belief in fairness, and the people admired him for his efforts in fixing a serious problem.
One of the main issues of Hayes’ presidency was the issue of Reconstruction. As racial issues in the south were quickly escalating, Hayes wanted to protect the rights of African Americans (Matuz). Part of Hayes’ plan to protect these rights was heading the Slater Fund, and organization that raised funds to help educate blacks in the south. “The real thing to be achieved is safety and prosperity for the colored people,” said Hayes (Matuz). Besides the issue of race, Reconstruction governments were still in place in Louisiana and South Carolina, and federal troops were there to maintain peace. Hayes was able to settle disputes between Republicans and Democrats over the governorships of South Carolina and Louisiana (Hamilton), showing his leadership ability. In South Carolina, Hayes withdrew troops in early April, after being assured from the governor that the constitutional rights of African Americans would be preserved (Matuz). In Louisiana, Hayes proceeded to do the same after being assured similar agreements by their governor. In both Louisiana and South Carolina, federal troops were removed, thus ending Reconstruction. Without much support of his fellow cabinet members or American citizens, Hayes was able to successfully maintain peace and order in the South, and end Reconstruction without causing greater conflicts.
In 1877, various strikes began to arise against the railroad industry, which caused conflict and disruption throughout those areas. Hayes sided with the railroad companies, and said that strikes had no right to prevent others from working (Matuz). Hayes recognized the complaints of the workers, and knew that something needed to be done to keep the peace, so he deployed troops into West Virginia and Indiana. By doing this, Hayes was able to keep railroads open, and he provided judges to strike areas, and gave these neutral judges the power to take strikers into court and settle it fairly instead of violently. The public supported Hayes in his decision to use federal troops, as they believed the railroads had brought on the violence, and Hayes acted reasonably and responsibly. By deploying troops to settle the disputes amongst strikers, Hayes showed his successful use of authority, and his ability to keep the country at peace. Furthermore, Hayes was able to please the public, along with solve the issue, which is...

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