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Final Years

World Traveler

  1. Between 1877 and 1879, the Grants took a trip around the world, covering several countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
  2. Greeted by crowds and dignitaries everywhere, Grant was accorded treatment usually reserved for kings and emperors. 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. During the trip, several world leaders consulted Grant on various issues their nations faced.
  3. When he returned home, a large contingent of the Republican Party was eager to nominate him to a third term as president.

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.

Move to New York City

  1. In 1881, Grant moved to 3 East 66 Street in New York City.
  2. Became president of the Mexican Southern Railroad Company and was interested in encouraging commerce between the two nations.
  3. 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.
  4. Negotiated reciprocal-trade agreement with Mexico between 1882 and 1883, though the treaty was not ratified.
    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.

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.

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.

The Ulysses S. Grant Bicentennial

200 Years of Ulysses S. Grant

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