In the fall of 1880, Rutherford B. Hayes became the first sitting U.S. president to tour the U.S. West. While rarely recognized as such in scholarship, Hayes was a culture warrior. His seventy-one-day, 2,500-mile tour of the West traced the spiritual battle lines of the politics of empire in the Gilded Age. On his journey the president explicitly and implicitly championed his answers to the Indian Question, School Question, Mormon Question, and Chinese Question. These Western policy positions established a Republican culture war program with deeply religious overtones that animated U.S. politics for over a decade and continues to resonate today. This article is part of a special issue of Pacific Historical Review, “Religion in the Nineteenth-Century American West.”

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