Grant’s Life and Career


When Grant’s Tomb was first constructed, those who visited the monument needed no introduction to Ulysses S. Grant. This did not remain the case, however. One essential requirement to be met at Grant’s Tomb today is adequate education of visitors – a task rendered even more difficult in that Grant, both as general and as president, has been one of the most misunderstood figures in American history. The following outline has been prepared to aid historical interpretation at Grant’s Tomb, but it can be used as an educational tool in any context that calls for a general understanding of Ulysses S. Grant and his place in history.

This is a collapsible outline. When you see a "+" after a selection, click to the right to reveal the rest of the outline. You can also click at the "+" to collapse the outline.


The Life and Public Career of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)

  1. Early years through the start of the Civil War+
    1. Birth and early life+
      1. Birth+
        1. Ulysses S. Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Clermont County, Ohio, on April 27, 1822.
        2. Originally named Hiram Ulysses Grant.
        3. Parents:+
          1. Jesse Root Grant (1794-1873): developed successful tanning business; an outspoken, anti-slavery Whig who took a strong interest in politics.
          2. Hannah Simpson Grant (1798-1883): a strong, reserved, religious woman; some observers believed that her son’s strength of character and taciturnity were traits inherited from her.
        4. Brothers and sisters: Samuel Simpson (1825-1861), Clara Rachel (1828-1865), Virginia Paine (“Jennie”) (1832-1913), Orvil Lynch (1835-1881), and Mary Frances (1839-1905).
      2. Early years to West Point +
        1. 1823: the family moved to Georgetown, Brown County, Ohio.
        2. 1836-37: Grant attended the Maysville Seminary in Maysville, Kentucky.
        3. 1838-39: attended the Presbyterian Academy in Ripley, Ohio.
      3. West Point +
        1. Appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1839.+
          1. By this time, he had been signing his name as “Ulysses H. Grant.”
          2. Congressman Thomas Hamer, who had been acquainted with the Grant family, mistakenly listed Grant as “Ulysses S. Grant,” probably assuming that his middle name was his mother's maiden name, Simpson; Grant didn't bother to correct the error.
        2. Grant was generally an average student, but he excelled in mathematics and horsemanship.+
          1. He established a record for the high jump on horseback that would stand for 25 years.
          2. He attended West Point with many other cadets who would become both Union and Confederate officers during the Civil War.
          3. In 1843, he graduated from West Point 21st in a class of 39 and was commissioned a Brevet Second Lieutenant in the 4th Infantry.
    2. Early military life+
      1. 1843-44: stationed at Jefferson Barracks, near Saint Louis.+
        1. There he met Julia Boggs Dent, a sister of Frederick T. Dent (1820-1892), his roommate at West Point, at White Haven, her family’s estate (also near Saint Louis). The two began a courtship.
        2. Julia Dent, who was born in Saint Louis on January 26, 1826, was the daughter of “Colonel” Frederick Fayette Dent (1786-1873), a Missouri slaveowner with strong Southern sentiments, and Ellen Bray Wrenshall Dent (179?-1857).
        3. Before he was stationed at Camp Salubrity, Louisiana, in June of 1844, Grant and Julia Dent became engaged.
      2. After the annexation of Texas in 1845, Grant's regiment was sent to Texas, and Grant was promoted to Second Lieutenant.
      3. The Mexican War (1846-48)+
        1. Grant was opposed to the Mexican War, later calling it “one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation,” but felt at the time he should serve under his flag rather than resign from the army.
        2. In later years, he devoted a good deal of statesmanship to Mexico, striving to keep their government free from foreign powers and improving relations between them and the United States. Much of his concern for Mexico sprang from what he saw as the injustice of the Mexican War.
        3. He fought in every major battle of the war except Buena Vista:+
          1. Palo Alto (May 8, 1846)
          2. Resaca de la Palma (May 9, 1846)
          3. Monterrey (September 19-21, 1846)+
            1. Here Grant undertook a dangerous volunteer mission to ride through the bullet-ridden streets for ammunition.
          4. Vera Cruz (April 18, 1847)
          5. Cerro Gordo (April 18, 1847)
          6. Churubusco (August 20, 1847)
          7. Molino del Rey (September 8, 1847)
          8. Chapultepec (September 12, 1847)
          9. Mexico City (September 14, 1847)
        4. Grant was given the Brevet (temporary) ranks of First Lieutenant and Captain respectively for his gallantry at Molino del Rey and the storming of Chapultepec.
        5. The United States acquired 2/3 of Mexico as a result of the war.
    3. Marriage and peacetime army career+
      1. Grant married Julia Dent in Saint Louis on August 22, 1848.
      2. He was reassigned to duty at Madison Barracks in Sackets Harbor, New York (November 17, 1848), and his wife accompanied him.
      3. In 1849, Grant was transferred to Detroit; he would be transferred back to Sackets Harbor in 1851.
      4. Frederick Dent Grant was born to the Grants on May 30, 1850, in Saint Louis. He would himself become a Major General in the army and was the second highest ranking man in the active service at the time of his death in 1912.
      5. In 1852, Grant’s regiment was ordered to the Pacific Coast, and Grant was stationed at Columbia Barracks in Fort Vancouver in the Oregon Territory.+
        1. Grant could not take his wife and young son with him on the dangerous trip through the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Coast.
        2. Separated from his family, Grant was unhappy.
      6. Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. (d. 1929), was born on July 22, 1852, in Bethel, Ohio, but his father would not have the chance to meet him until he was over one and a half years old.
      7. Grant was promoted to Captain on the death of a superior in 1853.
      8. In January 1854, he was stationed at Fort Humboldt, California. Grant resigned from the army on April 11 and rejoined his family at White Haven.+
        1. While on the Pacific Coast, Grant found himself unhappy away from his family, unable to raise money, and ill.
        2. Popular historical legend overlooks the broader picture and contends without sufficient evidence that Grant was forced to resign over drinking habits.
        3. Evidence regarding Grant’s habits during this time period is shaky, though evidence from later in his career does not support the notion that he was an alcoholic or habitual drinker. Regardless, historical myth, apparently unable to resist sensationalism, has cast Grant as a drunkard at the expense of accuracy. Perhaps the best exploration of the drinking question is in Charles G. Ellington’s The Trial of U.S. Grant (1987), which dispels the popular myth.
    4. Family and business before the start of the Civil War+
      1. 1854-1861: Grant made numerous attempts to support his family but suffered repeated failure.
      2. In 1855, the Grants moved to Wish-ton-wish, near Saint Louis, where they had a third child, Ellen (“Nellie”) Wrenshall Grant (1855-1922).
      3. In 1856, Grant built a modest house for his family and named it Hardscrabble; their fourth child, Jesse Root Grant (d. 1934), was born there in 1858.
      4. In 1858, Grant gave up farming and in 1859 entered the real estate business with his wife’s cousin, Henry Boggs.
      5. After having little success in real estate, Grant moved to Galena, Illinois, in 1860, and worked in his father’s hardware and leather goods store.
  2. Grant during the Civil War, 1861-1865+
    1. Grant in the West: 1861-1863+
      1. After Fort Sumter was attacked (April 12, 1861), President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 volunteers, and Grant rejoined the army on April 23.
      2. Grant was appointed Colonel of the 21st Illinois Regiment of Volunteers on June 17.
      3. Established headquarters in Cairo, Illinois, in command of the district of southern Illinois and southeastern Missouri (September 4).+
        1. Occupied Paducah, Kentucky, giving the Union a strong foothold in the West without bloodshed (September 6).
      4. In his first Civil War battle, Grant defeated a Confederate force at Belmont, Missouri, and then withdrew (November 7).
      5. February 6, 1862: captured Fort Henry on the Tennessee River.
      6. Fort Donelson (February 12-16).+
        1. Along with Fort Henry, first major Union victory of the war.
        2. Grant wrote to Confederate General Simon Bolivar Buckner on February 16, 1862, “No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.” This earned him the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.
        3. Surrender of about 13,000 Confederates marked the largest capture of men in the history of the Western Hemisphere up to that time.
        4. Named (two-star) Major General of Volunteers.
      7. Shiloh (April 6-7):+
        1. Grant faced General Albert Sidney Johnston, widely considered at the time the finest soldier in the Confederate army; Johnston was killed during the battle and replaced by P.G.T. Beauregard.
        2. After initially being attacked and driven back, Grant won a staggering (but bloody) victory, demonstrating that the war would last much longer than many initially predicted.
      8. Victories at Iuka (September 19) and Corinth (October 4) in Mississippi.
      9. Named commander of the Department of the Tennessee (October 25).
      10. The Vicksburg Campaign (November 2, 1862 - July 4, 1863):+
        1. One of the most brilliant displays of generalship in history.
        2. Vicksburg was considered a virtually impenetrable fortress and was the largest obstacle to Union control of the Mississippi, a critical aim of the war.
        3. After the seemingly dormant Campaign of the Bayous, Grant made a daring move across the Mississippi River with inferior numbers (1863).
        4. Won five battles in 17 days: Port Gibson (May 1), Raymond (May 12), capture of Jackson (May 14), Champion's Hill (May 16), and Big Black River Bridge (May 17).
        5. Two unsuccessful assaults on Vicksburg (May 19 and May 22).
        6. Siege of Vicksburg (May 19 - July 4).
        7. July 4, 1863: Surrender of Vicksburg to Grant by Confederate General John C. Pemberton. Largest capture of men and arms in history up to that point: 30,000 troops (including 15 generals) and 172 cannon surrendered.
        8. The Confederacy was now virtually divided in half, and the South had suffered perhaps its worst strategic blow in the entire war.
      11. Named commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi, which placed him in command of the Western theater of the war (October 16).
      12. Chattanooga (Tennessee):+
        1. Victory at Orchard Knob (November 23).
        2. Victory at Lookout Mountain (November 24).
        3. Victory at Missionary Ridge (November 25), a position held by the Confederates and thought to be impregnable, but taken by Grant’s troops in one of the most remarkable tactical victories of the war.
        4. These victories gave the Union control of Chattanooga, a major east-west railroad junction, and marked the successful completion of Grant’s western campaigns.
    2. Grant in the East: 1864-1865+
      1. Commissioned (three-star) Lieutenant General March 9, 1864, the first man to hold that rank since George Washington, and named supreme commander of the Union armies by President Lincoln (March 12).
      2. Grant as a modern general:+
        1. An innovator by nature, Grant grew as a general during his three years in the West.
        2. The lessons he learned throughout his campaigns contributed to his development as the first of the world’s truly modern generals.
        3. The Wilderness Campaign is often regarded as opening the first full modern campaign of warfare.+
          1. Grant as general-in-chief began a new period of Union command.
          2. Instead of armies acting independently in the western and eastern theaters, with battles individually deciding the fate of campaigns, Grant coordinated Union armies throughout the Confederacy, engaging the enemy at important points simultaneously and continuously.
          3. Union offensives in different regions were interdependent upon each other for ultimate Union success.
          4. Armies became principal targets rather than cities.
          5. Armies were to be decisively defeated whenever possible, but where that could not be accomplished, constant force and attrition would maintain the strategic initiative and prevent Confederate armies from upsetting Union efforts in other areas.
          6. Unlike generals before him, Grant had a unique understanding of the relationship between war and politics and applied it to his strategy.
      3. The Wilderness Campaign (May 5 - June 17):+
        1. The Wilderness (May 5-7).+
          1. Acting as de facto commander of the Army of the Potomac, Grant faced Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, for the first time.
          2. After Grant crossed the Rapidan River on May 4, the two armies engaged in heavy, sometimes desperate, fighting, with severe losses on both sides (17,000 for the Union, 11,000 for the Confederates).
          3. The battle could be considered a tactical stalemate but a strategic victory. Lee failed to halt Grant’s progress southward, and Grant had taken control of the strategic initiative. Within three days, he had brought the Union initiative in the East to greater heights than it had reached in three years.
        2. Spotsylvania (May 8-12).+
          1. Another tactically indecisive battle marked by heavy fighting but progress for the Union.
          2. Battle of the Bloody Angle (May 11): although he did not break through Lee’s lines, Grant incurred heavy losses on Lee (9-10,000) and strategically crippled him.
          3. Grant declared (May 11), “I...purpose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.”
        3. Operations on the North Anna River (May 23-26): Lee withdrew to powerful entrenchments south of the river, and instead of pursuing a frontal assault, Grant decided on another maneuver southward.
        4. Cold Harbor (June 1-3): Grant suffered heavy losses (5-7,000) during a disastrous June 3 frontal assault.
        5. Grant's crossing of the James River (June 15-18): one of the great maneuvers of the war, Grant moved over 100,000 troops south of the river before Lee could learn of the movement in time.
      4. The Petersburg Campaign (June 18, 1864 - April 2, 1865):+
        1. Grant besieged Lee in Petersburg, the “breadbasket” of Richmond, the Confederate capital.
        2. Campaign of attrition.+
          1. Trench warfare.
          2. Often viewed as a precursor to World War I.
        3. Grant captured Fort Harrison in a surprise attack on September 29.
        4. Treatment of black soldiers:+
          1. Grant was a supporter of the recruitment of black soldiers during the Civil War.
          2. Upon learning that Confederates were enslaving, murdering, and otherwise brutalizing black prisoners of war, Grant demanded equal treatment of all captured troops.
          3. Lee refused, so Grant refused to engage in further prisoner exchanges, leading to heavy buildups in prisoner-of-war camps.
        5. Lee made a failed attack on Fort Stedman as a last-ditch effort to launch an offensive (March 25, 1865).
        6. Battle of Five Forks (April 1) forced Lee to abandon Petersburg as Grant broke through his lines.
        7. Capture of Petersburg (April 2).
      5. The Appomattox Campaign (April 2 - April 9, 1865):+
        1. Capture of Richmond (April 3).
        2. Victory at Sayler’s Creek (April 7).
        3. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House (April 9).+
          1. Grant’s generous terms set the tone for peace: 21,000 prisoners paroled, officers allowed to keep their sidearms, and those with horses could keep them for the spring plowing.
          2. The Civil War was virtually ended and the nation reunited. Surrenders of other armies followed.
  3. Grant as General-in-Chief after the War (1865-1869)+
    1. Reconstruction:+
      1. Andrew Johnson had become president upon Lincoln's assassination and faced the issue of restoring the nation.
      2. A central question involved the status of former slaves. Johnson’s opposition to civil rights measures to advance the rights of former slaves led to a major conflict with Radical Republicans in Congress who favored full civil equality regardless of race.
    2. Grant was commissioned the first full (four-star) General in American history (July 25, 1866).
    3. Conflict with Radicals in Congress led to passage of the Tenure of Office Act, which required Senate approval for the removal of a cabinet member.+
      1. Convinced that the act, which clearly undermined his authority, was unconstitutional, Johnson arguably defied the law by removing Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton without Senate approval.
      2. Johnson appointed Grant Secretary of War ad interim (August 12, 1867).
      3. Troubled by Johnson’s attempts to create the impression that he supported his course of action, Grant served until 1868 but declined to become a part of Johnson’s further plans that year.
      4. Johnson was impeached, escaping removal by one vote.
    4. Nomination and election of 1868.+
      1. Grant was clearly the most popular figure in the country.
      2. Although he had had a soldier’s aversion to politics, Grant became concerned that Johnson’s Reconstruction policies were detrimental to the country and had come to support the Radical platform.
      3. Nominated the Republican candidate for president (May 21, 1868).
      4. Declared “Let us have peace,” later the inscription on his tomb, in his letter of acceptance upon his nomination for president.
      5. Elected to his first term as president, defeating Governor Horatio Seymour of New York (November 3).
  4. Presidency (1869-1877)+
    1. First Term (1869-1873)+
      1. First inauguration (March 4, 1869): advocated freedom from sectional prejudice, resumption of specie payments, restoration of the national credit, healthy national commerce, reform in national policy toward American Indians leading to their ultimate citizenship, and ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment.
      2. Signed Public Credit Act, providing that government obligations were to be paid in gold (March 18).
      3. “Black Friday” financial panic erupted when Jay Gould and Jim Fisk attempted to corner the gold market (September 24), but it ended when Grant ordered the sale of government gold to stabilize the market.
      4. Following the expulsion of black legislators in Georgia, Grant requested that state’s temporary return to military rule, adding much needed momentum to efforts to ratify the proposed Fifteenth Amendment.
      5. Issued proclamation celebrating ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution (March 30, 1870).+
        1. The Fifteenth Amendment states that no citizen can be denied the right to vote based upon race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
        2. In this proclamation, Grant called the amendment “a measure of grander importance than any other one act of the kind from the foundation of our free government to the present day.”
      6. Signed first Enforcement Act, which protected the voting rights of blacks (May 31).
      7. Resisting strong pressure for U.S. military involvement in the Cuban rebellion, Grant issued an announcement of strict neutrality (June 13).
      8. Signed bill creating the Department of Justice under the Attorney General (June 22); this marked a major consolidation of the federal government’s power to enforce civil rights.
      9. Signed act establishing the first Civil Service Commission in U.S. history (March 3, 1871).
      10. Grant’s “Quaker” Indian Peace Policy:+
        1. Grant signed the Indian Appropriation Act, which established Indians as national wards and nullified Indian treaties (March 3).
        2. A major part of Grant’s Peace Policy, this act caused the government to recognize for the first time the need to insure the welfare of Indians as individuals rather than as tribal entities.
        3. This was the first step in years of federal initiatives toward Indian policy reform that ultimately led to the Indians’ citizenship.
        4. Under Grant’s program, educational and medical programs were institutionalized in the Interior Department, and tons of food, clothing, and books were donated by churches and relief organizations to tribes.
        5. Between 1868 and 1876, the number of houses on reservations climbed from 7,500 to 56,000; the amount of land under cultivation increased sixfold; teachers and schools tripled; and Indian ownership of livestock increased by over fifteen times.
      11. Issued proclamation against unlawful combinations in South Carolina (March 24).
      12. Signed Ku Klux Klan Act, which enabled the president to suspend habeas corpus to further enforce the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment rights of southern blacks (April 20).
      13. Enacted successful arbitration of Alabama claims with Great Britain and other lingering international disputes:+
        1. This controversy centered around extensive damage caused by the Alabama, a Confederate warship built in British shipyards, and other Confederate ships of similar origin during the Civil War.
        2. Grant faced strong pressure throughout the country for war against Great Britain and failure on the part of the Johnson adminstration to reach a settlement.
        3. In his Second Annual Message, Grant made an international issue of the dispute and ultimately secured British cooperation in submitting the matter to its peaceful resolution.
        4. Grant won approval of the resulting Treaty of Washington (May 8). This treaty+
          1. Ended the threat of war with Britain.
          2. Secured an international tribunal that met in Geneva, Switzerland, to arbitrate the claims. The tribunal awarded the U.S. $15,500,000 for damages connected with the Alabama claims.
          3. Led to the settlement for the first time in U.S. history of every standing border dispute.
          4. Settled disputes over fishing rights in Canada.
          5. Established the principle of international arbitration.+
            1. This triggered a movement to seek alternatives to war through arbitration and to codify international law in order to mitigate the effects of war.
            2. A crucial component of modern peacekeeping efforts, this would be the motivating principle behind the Hague Conventions, the League of Nations, the World Court, and the United Nations.
          6. John Bassett Moore, the renowned expert in international law, called this “the greatest treaty of actual and immediate arbitration the world had even seen.”
      14. Prosecution of the Ku Klux Klan (1871-1872):+
        1. White supremacist terrorists made persistent attempts throughout Reconstruction to suppress the political rights of former slaves, most notoriously through the Ku Klux Klan (est. 1866).
        2. Grant issued a proclamation ordering the Ku Klux Klan in South Carolina to disperse and surrender arms (October 12, 1871).
        3. Suspended the writ of habeas corpus in nine South Carolina counties, one of the boldest displays of peacetime presidential power in U.S. history (October 17).
        4. Following this, Grant would send federal troops to South Carolina and pursue a prosecution of white supremacist terrorism that would destroy the Ku Klux Klan by the end of 1872.
      15. Signed act establishing Yellowstone as the world’s first national park: this was the genesis of the national park system (March 1, 1872).
      16. Signed Amnesty Act, which restored civil rights to all Southerners except certain former Confederate leaders (May 22).
      17. Election of 1872:+
        1. Much of the election season was marred by the Credit Mobilier scandal, which revealed that several congressmen had taken bribes between 1867 and 1868 during the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad in exchange for legislation.
        2. Grant’s strong civil rights record had forced the Democratic Party for the first time to accept the finality of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. This “new departure,” however, did not end their opposition to federal military intervention in the South during Reconstruction.
        3. A number of elite reformers, who considered themselves the “best men” for positions in government, embraced civil service reform, and opposed Grant’s Reconstruction policies, formed the Liberal Republican Party to oppose the president’s reelection.
        4. The Democrats and Liberal Republicans nominated New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley for president.
        5. Grant was reelected by a landslide (November 5).
      18. Signed Coinage Act, making gold the sole monetary standard (February 12, 1873).
    2. Second Administration (1873-1877)+
      1. Second Inauguration (March 4, 1873): advocated civil rights legislation for former slaves, the gold standard, domestic and international commerce, industrial development, and continued reform of Indian policy.
      2. Ordered disorderly bands in Louisiana to disperse (May 22).+
        1. Louisiana, which had a small black majority and a fragile government, required Grant’s military support throughout his term in order to retain its Republican governors, who were repeatedly threatened within the state.
        2. During his second administration, Grant’s intervention in the South on behalf of blacks became widely unpopular in both North and South, largely because of racial prejudice throughout the nation.
      3. The Panic of 1873 began with the failure of Jay Cooke and Company, a major New York banking firm (September 18).
      4. Virginius dispute with Spain:+
        1. The Virginius, a merchant ship commanded by Captain John Fry, a U.S. citizen, and flying the American flag, was captured by the Spanish gunboat Tornado.
        2. Claiming that the vessel was aiding Cuban rebels, Spanish authorities executed Fry, 36 of the crew members, and 16 passengers.
        3. Resisting intense pressure to declare war on Spain, Grant secured a successful arbitration of the matter, including an indemnity and apology from the Spanish government (November 28).
        4. Authorities later discovered that the Virginius was owned by Cubans, was illegally registered, and had no right to fly the American flag.
      5. Vetoed inflation of currency bill (April 22, 1874).+
        1. This was perhaps the most important of Grant’s 93 vetoes (a greater number than all of his predecessors’ vetoes combined).
        2. This move began a minor party realignment by making Republicans the party of “hard money” and paving the way for the resumption of specie payments.
      6. Daughter Nellie Grant married Algernon Sartoris in the White House in one of the largest Washington social events of the century (May 21).
      7. Acknowledging the widespread unpopularity of his southern policy, Grant expressed his continuing commitment to Reconstruction in his Sixth Annual Message: “While I remain Executive all the laws of Congress and the provisions of the Constitution...will be enforced with rigor....Treat the negro as a citizen and a voter, as he is and must remain....Then we shall have no complaint of sectional interference.”
      8. Ordered disorderly gatherings in Mississippi to disperse (December 21).+
        1. Following the mass murder of blacks in Vicksburg, federal troops restored order and removed a fraudulently installed Democratic sheriff.
        2. Due to intimidation during the election of 1875, Mississippi would become the only state with a black majority to be seized by a Democratic (anti-Reconstruction) administration during Grant’s term.
      9. Signed Specie Resumption Act (January 14, 1875).+
        1. This act would help stabilize currency by reducing greenbacks in circulation and by resuming specie (gold) payments starting January 1, 1879.
        2. At the time this act went into effect, the depression that started with the Panic of 1873 came to an abrupt end.
      10. Signed Civil Rights Act (March 1, 1875).+
        1. This act prohibited racial segregation in various modes of public accommodations and transportation and discrimination in jury selection.
        2. The most sweeping piece of civil rights legislation before 1964, this would be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1883.
        3. While Grant saw this as a stand taken on principle, the law was unpopular and lamented by many as a move that would hurt the Republican Party.
        4. Congress would not pass another civil rights law until 1957.
      11. The Whiskey Ring, a conspiracy of whiskey distillers who had been defrauding the government for years, is uncovered (May 1).+
        1. With Grant’s support, Secretary of the Treasury Benjamin Bristow secured over 350 indictments.
        2. After someone hinted that Orville Babcock, his personal secretary, might be among the guilty, Grant stated, “Let no guilty man escape if it can be avoided....No personal consideration should stand in the way of performing a public duty.”
        3. Weighing the evidence, Grant later defended Babcock, who was acquitted of the questionable charges against him due to a lack of evidence.
      12. Ordered white terrorist “rifle clubs” in South Carolina to disperse (October 17, 1876).
      13. Election of 1876.+
        1. Republican Rutherford B. Hayes faced Democrat Samuel J. Tilden.
        2. Grant utilized troops to protect the rights of black voters in South Carolina and Louisiana, both of which had black majorities and were holding gubernatorial elections.+
          1. Both elections were disputed, but the Republican candidates would be inaugurated.
          2. Grant sustained both governors until the end of his term.
      14. Presidential electoral crisis (1876-1877):+
        1. Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, and Oregon all submitted two sets of electoral returns, one by the Democrats and one by the Republicans, bringing the presidential election into dispute.
        2. Facing this unprecedented controversy in which the nation was unsure who (if either candidate) would be inaugurated in March, a crisis developed.
        3. Grant supported the establishment of an electoral commission to decide the dispute (though playing no role in its deliberations).+
          1. In a controversial move, the commission decided that Hayes had won the electoral votes of all four states, giving him the presidency by one electoral vote.
          2. Compromise of 1877: Democrats agreed to recognize Hayes in exchange for an assurance by Republicans that the new president would end intervention in the South.
        4. Grant was widely credited with preserving the peace during this crisis and silently prepared troops to prevent any disruptions.+
          1. Hayes was peacefully inaugurated on March 5.
          2. One of Hayes’ first actions was the withdrawal of the last remaining federal troops in the South from South Carolina and Louisiana, ending Reconstruction.+
            1. The Republican regimes of these states soon collapsed, and the “Solid South” was born.
            2. With the end of Reconstruction, the government had repudiated Grant’s policy, and subsequent decades would see a new era of disfranchisement and segregation sweep the South until the 20th-century Civil Rights Movement.
  5. Later Years+
    1. Between 1877 and 1879, the Grants took a trip around the world, covering several countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia.+
      1. Greeted by crowds and dignitaries everywhere, Grant was accorded treatment usually reserved for kings and emperors.+
        1. This treatment, which contrasted with the reception of former presidents Van Buren and Fillmore on their trips, reflected the unprecedented respect the U.S. had recently acquired throughout the world.
        2. During the trip, several world leaders consulted Grant on various issues their nations faced.
      2. When he returned home, a large contingent of the Republican Party was eager to nominate him to a third term as president.
    2. The election of 1880:+
      1. The “Stalwart” faction of the Republican Party, discontent with Hayes and the abandonment of the South, supported the nomination of Grant for a third term while the “Half-Breeds,” the “reform” faction that opposed any resumed intervention in the South, supported James G. Blaine.
      2. Grant maintained a strong lead in the Republican National Convention until the bitterly divided party settled on a compromise “dark horse” candidate, Representative James A. Garfield of Ohio, who narrowly won the election.
    3. In 1881, Grant moved to 3 East 66 Street in New York City.+
      1. Became president of the Mexican Southern Railroad Company and was interested in encouraging commerce between the two nations.
      2. Invested the family’s money in the Wall Street banking firm of Grant and Ward.+
        1. Grant himself had little substantive involvement in the firm; his son, Ulysses, Jr., was the Grant primarily involved.
        2. The firm would prosper until 1884.
      3. Negotiated reciprocal-trade agreement with Mexico between 1882 and 1883, though the treaty was not ratified.
      4. Amid revelations of partner Ferdinand Ward’s improper speculative tactics (which backfired), the firm went bankrupt, leaving the Grant family thousands of dollars in debt.
    4. Personal Memoirs and death.+
      1. Approached by admirer Mark Twain, Grant decided to write his memoirs to help alleviate his family’s financial loss (1884).
      2. While writing, Grant discovered that he had inoperable cancer of the throat, which doctors attributed to his habit of smoking cigars and to the stress caused by the collapse of Grant and Ward.+
        1. He endured great pain swallowing and eventually would have to sleep sitting up.
        2. He continued writing his memoirs despite the growing agony caused by the cancer.
      3. On March 3, 1885, President Chester A. Arthur nominated Grant as (four-star) General on the retired list.
      4. In June, Grant was moved to a cottage owned by Joseph W. Drexel in Mount McGregor, New York (just north of Saratoga Springs) for health reasons.
      5. Memoirs were completed approximately July 19, and Grant died on July 23 at age 63.
      6. Although Grant died penniless, the Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant shattered sales records and besides paying off debts would make the Grant family wealthy.+
        1. The memoirs are considered one of the finest works of literature of its kind in American history.
        2. Often considered among the greatest military autobiographies ever written, the memoirs have been compared to Julius Caesar’s Commentaries.
    5. Julia Grant’s later years.+
      1. Julia Grant lived 17 more years in Mount McGregor, New York City, and Washington, D.C., reserving most of her time for her family, which came to include great-grandchildren.+
        1. She became the first First Lady to write her memoirs, although her manuscript was not published until 1975.
        2. She became an open supporter of the Republican Party, Susan B. Anthony, and the cause of women’s suffrage.
      2. Died in Washington, D.C., on December 14, 1902, aged 76.

Suggested reading (with dates of initial publication):


For a more complete Grant bibliography, click here.

You can also watch a presentation here on Grant’s historical legacy given by GMA past president Frank Scaturro to the Montgomery County (Maryland) Civil War Round Table.

 

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