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Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893) was the nineteenth president of the United States, from 1877-1881. His controversial and extremely close election became known as the Compromise of 1877, or alternately, the Corrupt Bargain.

Hayes served in Congress and as governor of Ohio before accepting the Republican presidential nomination in 1876 against Democratic candidate Samuel J. Tilden. The election marked the resurgence of the Democratic Party and the reentry of white southerners into the national voting process. The Hayes-Tilden election was extraordinarily close, and the ballot counts from several southern states were disputed. Congress created an electoral commission to decide the elections, which were plagued by reports of voting irregularities in the hotly contested Reconstruction states of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Although Tilden won the popular vote by a small majority, the commission awarded all disputed returns to Hayes, giving him a majority of one in the electoral college. This was clearly a partisan decision; the Democrats' price for allowing Hayes to become president was a commitment from Republicans to abandon Reconstruction and defense of the welfare of the South's black population. Hayes withdrew federal troops from Louisiana and South Carolina shortly after taking office, thus ending the Reconstruction era.

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