…What? Everybody’s going to go give props to Lincoln and Washington and Reagan and Coolidge – and, sure, FDR* if we’re going to be all bipartisan and whatnot**. But if it wasn’t for Rutherford B. Hayes…
…the federal government might have turned the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 into something*** that could have galvanized American Socialists into creating a viable Marxist movement in the United States. Basically, Hayes decided to not send in federal troops to break the strike, and the whole thing eventually ran out of steam before we had a no-fooling actual class conflict in this country.
So, you know: go Rutherford.
*Guy killed a lot of Nazis for somebody stuck in a wheelchair. Just saying, man. Besides, I figure if Ronald Reagan can get a pass on this, then so can I.
**Yes, I know that George Washington was not a member of any political party.
***You can check out What Ifs? Of American History (Cecelia Holland, “The Revolution of 1877”) for more analysis along that line. Plus, you know, more alternate history scenarios. I have a real weakness for that stuff.