The idea of a Hayes/Carter comparison originated when I viewed a PBS series called the American Presidents, during the episode titled “An Independent Cast of Mind.” In this episode the presidents were mentioned along with John Taylor and John Adams as those who “put the national interest above the concerns of their parties.” PBS goes on to say they were all one term presidents and wasn’t that a coincidence. PBS did not think highly of these four and out of respect for John Adams, I told the DVD narrator, “HEY WAIT A MINUTE.”
A biography of Hayes by Ari Hoogenboom points out the Hayes/Carter similarity, saying that the two were both more popular post presidency while doing humanitarian work. But Hayes and Carter have similarities beyond their humanity work and whether or not they were terrible presidents. The didn’t share the same pre-presidency career or the same political party, but they did have a whole bunch of similarities that would have been really spooky had they both been assassinated. Or mentioned in the same PBS series.
- OOOooooOOOooooOOO. Rutherford B. Hayes and Jimmy E. Carter each have five syllables in their names. Carter was the 39th president. Hayes was the 19th president. Carter’s term in office: 1977 – 1981. Hayes’s term in office: 1877 – 1881.
- They were both governors who became one term presidents.
- Each focused on humanitarian careers post presidency and in the spirit of Lincoln/Kennedy list vagueness, they both had something to do with helping the poor (Habitat, whatever Hayes did).
- Economic/civil rights/prison reform/Ohio reform. Hayes did a lot of good post presidency.
- Both had vice presidents whose first names began with W.
- Both of their successors were shot in ’81 by crazy guys obsessed with Jodie Foster or the 19th century equivalent, an ambassadorship to France.
- Both were born in October. They were both Virgos. Or Libras. I’m getting mixed signals from what seems like an unnecessary amount of zodiac lists from Wikipedia.
- Military service. They both fought for the Union.
- A mutual love of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Actually, only Hayes had this quality according to biographer Ari Hoogenboom. But I’m sure Carter loves it too.
- Both were preceded by Presidents whose monosyllabic names were both nouns and verbs (Grant/Ford). <- HOW ABOUT THAT ONE, HUH?
- Goody two shoes. While Lemonade Lucy Hayes gets the credit for making the Hayes administration a dry White House, Rutherford probably helped push the idea along. Their house also banned smoking and profanity. Carter’s White House was technically dry, but the Carter’s did occasionally drink. And while I haven’t personally lived in that decade, I’ve read about the seventies, and I can’t say I blame them. It really sounded like just an awful, awful time.
Follow up questions:
2. Do you love the Northwest Ordinance of 1787? Circle Yes/No