Episode 888: The First Shutdown : Planet Money In 1879, Congress and the President were locked in a battle over the rights of African-Americans. It led to the first government shutdown.
NPR logo Episode 888: The First Shutdown

Episode 888: The First Shutdown

An undated portrait by Mathew Brady of Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States. Mathew Brady/AP hide caption

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Mathew Brady/AP

An undated portrait by Mathew Brady of Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States.

Mathew Brady/AP

The government is shut down again. Here at Planet Money, we wondered: just how long has this been going on? The answer is: It started a long time ago, but then it didn't happen again for nearly a hundred years.

Today on the show, we go back in time to 1879. There was a fight between President Rutherford B. Hayes and Congress about African-Americans voting. It ended in the first ever government shutdown.

Music: "Hakoniwa," "Salmon Smash" and "Broke Me."

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