Rutherford B. Hayes (1822–1893) was the 19th president of the United States (1877–81). He won the presidency after the controversial election of 1876. He is best known for the end of Reconstruction and his domestic policies, and his foreign policy was probably less important to American history. However, he did have to contend with two important foreign-policy issues during his presidency.
One issue that Hayes had to deal with was Central America and a prospective canal. The transportation of goods from East to West in the United States was very costly. The completion of the Suez Canal showed that the idea of building a canal across Central America was a viable one. Hayes successfully thwarted French efforts to build a canal in Central America.
A second issue concerned Chinese immigration. Large numbers of Chinese immigrants had come to America to work on railroad construction, and most of them stayed after the construction. They were resented for their willingness to work long hours for low pay. Hayes vetoed a Congressional effort to ban Chinese immigration. Instead, Hayes used diplomacy to persuade China to cut down immigration to America.