(Backgrounds by Craig & Karl for The Washington Post; Photo by Amy King/The Washington Post)

How does a vicious, close and disputed election spill over into a presidency?

In the newest episode of the Presidential podcast, we examine the razor-thin election results for Rutherford B. Hayes, and the equally fine line he then had to tread as president during the end of Reconstruction.

"Wherever you look in the country, the year that Rutherford B. Hayes is becoming president is one of the most ragged in American history," says historian Ed Ayers, the former president of the University of Richmond and a cohost of the history podcast Backstory. Ayers guest stars in this episode, along with Christie Weininger, executive director at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, and Washington Post chief correspondent Dan Balz.

To learn more about the intense 1876 election and why Reconstruction came to an end, listen to the new episode here:

In previous episodes of the Presidential podcast, we've explored topics likeAbraham Lincoln's language and the violent life of Andrew Jackson. The podcast is hosted by Lillian Cunningham, editor of The Washington Post's On Leadership section.

As listeners tune in each week, the podcast reveals the ways in which our collective sense of what’s ’presidential’ has evolved over the years and how each president—esteemed, loathed or nearly forgotten—has something to tell us about what it takes to hold the nation’s highest office.

A new episode comes out every Sunday. Here's how to follow along: