Here are some bits and pieces about Rutherford B. Hayes, president and died shortly before the turn of the century, that I spotted on Wikipedia while doing some research for a story I’m writing and wanted some flavor about his presidency. He was a Republican, and from the era that created the party. Reading about his values reminded me of what a bizarre switch has happened over the last hundred years in terms of values:
Here are some things that jumped out at me.
Hayes became an active advocate for educational charities, advocating federal education subsidies for all children.
He urged Congress, unsuccessfully, to pass a bill written by Senator Henry W. Blair that would have allowed federal aid for education for the first time.
Hayes gave a speech in 1889 encouraging black students to apply for scholarships from the Slater Fund, one of the charities with which he was affiliated.
In retirement, Hayes was troubled by the disparity between the rich and the poor, saying in an 1886 speech that “free government cannot long endure if property is largely in a few hands and large masses of people are unable to earn homes, education, and a support in old age.” The following year, Hayes recorded his thoughts on that subject in his diary:
This one is worth reading in further detail:
In church it occurred to me that it is time for the public to hear that the giant evil and danger in this country, the danger which transcends all others, is the vast wealth owned or controlled by a few persons. Money is power. In Congress, in state legislatures, in city councils, in the courts, in the political conventions, in the press, in the pulpit, in the circles of the educated and the talented, its influence is growing greater and greater. Excessive wealth in the hands of the few means extreme poverty, ignorance, vice, and wretchedness as the lot of the many. It is not yet time to debate about the remedy. The previous question is as to the danger—the evil. Let the people be fully informed and convinced as to the evil. Let them earnestly seek the remedy and it will be found. Fully to know the evil is the first step towards reaching its eradication. Henry George is strong when he portrays the rottenness of the present system. We are, to say the least, not yet ready for his remedy. We may reach and remove the difficulty by changes in the laws regulating corporations, descents of property, wills, trusts, taxation, and a host of other important interests, not omitting lands and other property.
Today if he ran the ads would be like, Rutherford B. Hayes: Fucking leftist hippy.
Just look at the beard. You know he’s a hippy.
Mirrored from Tobias Buckell Online.