If you said "Rutherford Hayes," people would feel as if you'd left something out. We're so used to that B.

For some reason he's used as an example of a funny old-timey president from a stuffy boring era. Really?

In 1876, Hayes was elected president in one of the most contentious and confused elections in national history. He lost the popular vote to Democrat Samuel J. Tilden but he won an intensely disputed electoral college vote after a Congressional commission awarded him twenty contested electoral votes.

The result was the Compromise of 1877, in which the Democrats acquiesced to Hayes's election and Hayes ended all federal army intervention in Southern politics. That caused the collapse of Republican state governments and, with Democratic disfranchisement of most blacks, first by violence and fraud, and then by law at the turn of the century, led to a one-party Democratic South into the 1960s, giving outsized power for white conservatives.

Hayes believed in meritocratic government, equal treatment without regard to race, and improvement through education. He ordered federal troops to quell the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.

He implemented modest civil service reforms that laid the groundwork for further reform in the 1880s and 1890s. He vetoed the Bland-Allison Act, which would have put silver money into circulation and raised prices, insisting that maintenance of the gold standard was essential to economic recovery.

The past is only useless and dull to people who angle their car's rear-view mirrors so it shows their own face.