Rutherford B. Hayes

(Rutherford Birchard Hayes)

Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford B. Hayes
  • Born: October 4, 1822
  • Died: January 17, 1893
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: President









Quote Topics Cited
... a consolidation of unchecked and despotic power in the House of Representatives ... Legislating & Legislative Process
... the wrong and evils of the money-piling tendency of our country ... giving all power to the rich and bringing in pauperism. Business, Commerce & Finance is a government by the corporations, for the corporations. Power
[It is the] duty of the United States to assert and maintain such supervision and authority over any inter-oceanic canal across the isthmus that connects North and South America as will protect our national interest. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
[McKinley] is on a stumping tour ... I criticized the bloody-shirt course of the canvass [campaign]. It seems to me it is bad "politics," and of no use.... An increasing number of people are interested in good relations with the South. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
A canal under American control or no canal. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
Abolish plutocracy if you would abolish poverty. As millionaires increase, pauperism grows. The more millionaires, the more paupers Poverty
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 and merit. It aids only those who lack other claims to support. Patronage & Pork Barrel
An officer fit for duty who at this crisis would abandon his post to electioneer for a seat in Congress ought to be scalped. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Anti-Nebraska, Know-Nothings, and general disgust with the powers that be, have carried this country by between seven and eight thousand majority! How people do hate Catholics, and what happiness it was to thousands to have a chance to show it in what seemed a lawful and patriotic manner. Voters, Voting & Elections
Any officer fit for duty who at this crisis would abandon his post to electioneer for a seat in Congress, ought to be scalped. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Appointments to office were not to be made nor expected merely as rewards for partisan services, nor merely on the nomination of members of Congress, as being entitled in any respect to the control of such appointments.
At the basis of all prosperity, for that as well as for every other part of the country, lies the improvement of the intellectual and moral condition of the people. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Conkling -- the power behind the throne, superior to the throne. Power
He serves his party best who serves the county best. Political Parties & Machines
I am heartedly tired of this life of bondage, responsibility, and toil. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
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 Miscellaneous
I am now in a contest on the question of the right of Senators to dictate or control all nominations. Mr. [Roscoe] Conkling insists that no officer shall be appointed in New York without his [Conkling's] consent, obtained previously to the nomination.
I ask the attention of the public to the paramount necessity of reform in our civil service—a reform not merely as to certain abuses and practices of so-called official patronage which have come to have the sanction of usage in the several Departments of our Government, but a change in the system of appointment itself; a reform that shall be thorough, radical, and complete; a return to the principles and practices of the founders of the Government. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
I grow more conservative every day on the question of removals. On ex parte statements, I have made mistakes in removing men who, perhaps, ought to have been retained, and in appointing wrong men. Not many removals have been made. Less than any Administration since John Q. Adams. But I shall be more cautious in future; make removals only in clear cases, and appoint only on the best and fullest evidence of fitness.
I recommend an amendment to the Constitution prescribing a term of six years for the Presidential office and forbidding a reelection. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I see more clearly than ever, and I thought I saw before, that congressional life is not the best introduction to the President's house. Great and fully equipped as the general [James Garfield] is, there are embarrassments growing out of his long and brilliant career in Congress, which Jackson and Lincoln, and Grant, and myself, escaped. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I was told that consulates are all gobbled up long ago—that ... [a candidate's] only chance is the death or resignation of the present incumbents; and you know "few die and none resign.
If General Garfield [his successor as President] rejects the practice I have inaugurated he will offend thousands and drive them into the hands of the temperance demagogues. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
If the red-shirts can be present at the polls in South Carolina, why cannot the bluecoats [Federal troops] be called in also? Voters, Voting & Elections
If you do get into the Senate, don't get the Presidential mania. It makes mad every man who is at all prominent at Washington either in the House or Senate. Scores of men, usually sound and sensible, fancy they can be President, who has no more right to think so than the autocrat of Russia. I have no knowledge of any tolerably conspicuous politician at Washington whose career is not colored and marred by his ambition to be President. I say this in all seriousness. It makes fools of all sorts from [Daniel] Webster and Lewis Campbell. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
If you're not sure of what to say, don't say anything. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
In the end, the claim of a single Senator to control all nominations in his State will be found so preposterous that it will fall of its own weight.
In the language of the press, "Senator Conkling has won a great victory over the Administration." My New York nominations were rejected thirty-one to twenty-five. But the end is not yet. I am right, and shall not give up the contest.
In view of the well known facts that the sale and use in the Army of the United States of intoxicating liquors is the cause of such demoralization among both men and officers, and that such sale and use give rise to a very large proportion of the cases before general and garrison courts martial, involving great expense and serious injury to the service, it is therefore directed that the Secretary of War take suitable steps, as far as practicable consistent with vested rights, to prevent the sale of intoxicating liquors (as a beverage) at the camps, forts, and other posts of the army. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
It is the desire of the good people of the whole country that sectionalism as a factor in our politics should disappear... Miscellaneous
It is the right and duty of the United States to assert and maintain such supervision and authority over any interoceanic canal across the isthmus that connects North and South America as will protect our national interest. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
It must not be forgotten that only a local government which recognizes and maintains inviolate the rights of all is a true self-government. Miscellaneous
Let appointments and removals be made on business principles and fixed rules.
Men in political life must be ambitious. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Mrs. Hayes has been from childhood a total abstainer. I was not a total abstainer when I became President. But the discussions which arose over the change at the President's house soon satisfied me that in this matter, if our example was to be useful, there was no half-way house for me. During the greater part of my term and at least for the last three years, I have been in practice and in theory a total-abstinence man, and I shall continue to be so. All statements inconsistent with the foregoing are without foundation. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
My old friend Judge Johnson used to say, "The Presidency is unlike the Kingdom of Heaven—those who seek shall never find. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
My policy is trust—peace, and to put aside the bayonet War & Peace
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. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
Not too much hard work, plenty of time to read, good society, etcetera. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
Nothing brings out the lower traits of human nature like office seeking. Men of good character and impulse are betrayed by it into all sorts of meanness. Disappointment makes them unjust to the last degree. Patronage & Pork Barrel
Public men rarely keep their promises to retire from public life. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Returned last night from Ohio Day at the Centennial. It was an enthusiastic and prodigious crowd which greeted me. I managed to shake some four thousand people by the hand and to make half a dozen speeches from steps, windows and roof of the Ohio Building, without saying anything I regret—without "slopping over. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Revolutions and bolts [from the party] are alike. They are sacred when the facts justify them. When not so justified they are blunders of the sort that is worse than crime. Political Parties & Machines
The American who drinks wine is in danger of becoming the victim of drunkenness, licentiousness, and gambling. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
The exclusion of wine from the list of refreshments has turned out exceedingly well. There is a great deal of dissipation here [in Washington DC] At the reception of the British Minister, and that of the Mexican Minister, disgraceful things were done by young men, made reckless by too much wine. Hence the necessity of our course is obvious, and is commended in unexpected quarters. Many of the foreign gentlemen speak of it with approval. We shall stick to it. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
The failure of the South to faithfully observe the Fifteenth Amendment is the cause of the failure of all efforts towards complete pacification. It is on this hook that the bloody shirt now hangs. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The feeling of uncertainty inseparable from an irredeemable paper currency, with its fluctuation of values, is one of the greatest obstacles to a return to prosperous times. The only safe paper currency is one which rests upon a coin basis and is at all times and promptly convertible into coin. Money, Coins & Minting
The Indians were the original occupants of the lands we now posses. They have been driven from place to place ... In many instances, when they had settled down upon lands assigned to them by compact and begun to support themselves by their own labor, they were rudely jostled off and thrust into the wilderness again. Many, if not most, of our Indian wars have had their origin in broken promises and acts of injustice on our part. Minorities & Women
The mystery of our existence—I have no faith in any attempted explanation of it. It is all a dark, unfathomed profound. Religion & God
The party out of power gains by all partisan conduct of those in power. Political Parties & Machines
The political event of last week is the opposition of [Roscoe] Conkling to the New York appointments. This is a test case. The Senators generally prefer to confirm Merritt and Graham. But many, perhaps a majority, will not oppose Conkling on the question. Senatorial courtesy, the Senatorial prerogative, and the fear of Conkling's vengeance in the future, control them.
The traditions and courtesies of the Senators and Representatives stand in the way of the Executive, however, as defined by the Constitution, and no man who is trained in the congressional school fails to suffer by them in a way that men of merely executive experience know nothing of. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The welfare of legitimate business and industry ... will be best promoted by abstaining from all attempts to make radical changes. Business, Commerce & Finance
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 . . . No proper legislation is to be expected as long as members of Congress are engaged in procuring offices for their constituents Bureaucracy
Two ways are open to succeed in the South: 1. A division of white voters. 2. Education of the ignorant. Bloody-shirt utterances prevent division. Voters, Voting & Elections
Universal suffrage should rest upon universal education. To this end, liberal and permanent provision should be made for the support of free schools by the State governments, and, if need be, supplemented by legitimate aid from national authority. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
We are in a period when old questions are settled and the new are not yet brought forward. Political Parties & Machines
We are successful. The New York nominations, Merritt and Burt, were confirmed against Arthur and Cornell, after five or six hours' debate by a vote of thirty-three to twenty-four.
What Congress and the popular sentiment approve is rarely defeated by reason of constitutional objections. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
Where matters of dispute are made the subject of arbitration under the forms of law. Human judgment is never unerring, and is rarely regarded as otherwise than wrong by the unsuccessful party in the contest. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
As friends go it is less important to live.
Conscience is the authentic voice of God to you. Religion & God
Do not let your bachelor ways crystallize so that you can't soften them when you come to have a wife and a family of your own. Families, Children & Parenting
He serves his party best who serves his country best.
I am a radical in thought (and principle) and a conservative in method (and conduct).
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. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Business, Commerce & Finance
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.
In avoiding the appearance of evil, I am not sure but I have sometimes unnecessarily deprived myself and others of innocent enjoyments.
It is the desire of the good people of the whole country that sectionalism as a factor in our politics should disappear. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Law without education is a dead letter. With education the needed law follows without effort and, of course, with power to execute itself; indeed, it seems to execute itself. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Power
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.
Must swear off from swearing. Bad habit.
No person connected with me by blood or marriage will be appointed to office. Families, Children & Parenting
One of the tests of the civilization of people is the treatment of its criminals.
The bold enterprises are the successful ones. Take counsel of hopes rather than of fears to win in this business. Business, Commerce & Finance
The filth and noise of the crowded streets soon destroy the elasticity of health which belongs to the country boy. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
The independence of all political and other bother is a happiness. Happiness & Unhappiness
The President of the United States should strive to be always mindful of the fact that he serves his party best who serves his country best.
The progress of society is mainly the improvement in the condition of the workingmen of the world. Society
The truth is, this being errand boy to one hundred and fifty thousand people tires me so by night I am ready for bed instead of soirees. Truth
The unrestricted competition so commonly advocated does not leave us the survival of the fittest. The unscrupulous succeed best in accumulating wealth.
To vote is like the payment of a debt, a duty never to be neglected, if its performance is possible.
Universal suffrage is sound in principle. The radical element is right.
Unjust attacks on public men do them more good than unmerited praise.
Virtue is defined to be mediocrity, of which either extreme is vice.
Wars will remain while human nature remains. I believe in my soul in cooperation, in arbitration; but the soldier's occupation we cannot say is gone until human nature is gone. Nature
We are in a period when old questions are settled and the new are not yet brought forward. Extreme party action, if continued in such a time, would ruin the party. Moderation is its only chance. The party out of power gains by all partisan conduct of those in power. Time ;Power