Heather Cox Richardson On The First Government Shutdown In U.S. History

Historians in the News
tags: political history, presidential history, Heather Cox Richardson, shutdown


This current federal government shutdown is the longest one we've had. Sarah Gonzalez of our Planet Money podcast tells us that the first time this sort of thing happened was over protections for black voters.

SARAH GONZALEZ, BYLINE: In 1879, Rutherford B. Hayes was president, a Republican. He won after some controversial postelection negotiations.

HEATHER COX RICHARDSON: A lot of people already are calling him Rutherfraud B. Hayes because he's been elected by fraud.

GONZALEZ: Heather Cox Richardson is a professor of American history at Boston College. Rutherford B. Hayes - is he the one with the long, bushy sideburns or the long, pointy beard?

RICHARDSON: Oh, Lord, can you really tell the difference between all those guys?

GONZALEZ: (Laughter).

RICHARDSON: The only one who kind of stands out is James Garfield because he has piercing blue eyes.

GONZALEZ: James A. Garfield and Rutherford B. Hayes were the key players in the first shutdown.

Did they call it a shutdown?

RICHARDSON: No, they called it the rider fight or the appropriations fight.

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