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The Ulysses S. Grant Bicentennial

April 27, 2022, marked the 200th anniversary of Grant’s birth. The Ulysses S. Grant Association, which operates the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, maintains a website at this link with information regarding observances of the Grant bicentennial.

The Grant Monument Association extends its thanks to all who have helped celebrate the memory of President Ulysses S. Grant and to further education on his life and legacy. Toward those ends, the following measures have been taken and in some cases are ongoing efforts still being pursued:


Posthumous Promotion

In December 2022, Congress authorized Grant’s posthumous promotion to “General of the Armies of the United States,” the U.S. Army’s highest rank. This provision was passed as Section 583 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023. It confers on Grant the same rank and precedence held by General John J. Pershing, the only officer to have been General of the Armies of the United States during his lifetime. The posthumous honor of that rank was conferred in 1976 upon George Washington during the celebration of the nation’s bicentennial. The text of this legislation is accessible here.

Messages and Proclamations

Read proclamations and special messages from across the country commemorating Ulysses S. Grant’s 200th birthday.

Such tributes came from all six living presidents, Congress, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and all fifty states plus the District of Columbia.

Grant Sites Initiative

The bicentennial is an occasion to rally for the proper care and recognition of sites across the country and abroad relating to Ulysses S. Grant. The Grant sites initiative can be divided into three parts: (1) proper care of established sites, (2) memorializing unmarked sites, and (3) proposing new memorials to Grant, including locations that should be named for him:

  1. Proper care of established sites: Identification of existing sites related to the life and legacy of Ulysses S. Grant that face challenges and seeking the resources to address them. Typically these challenges are maintenance issues, like the Grant Memorial in DC that was just restored, but they also include such efforts as the successful moving and reopening of Grant’s house in Detroit, the proper development of the former prison (now park) land that surrounds the Grant Cottage on Mt. McGregor, developing the Grants’ first home in Galena (now privately owned) with the goal of making it accessible to the public, and the expansion of visitor facilities and repairs needed in and around Grant’s Tomb.
  2. Identification of unmarked sites: How many sites of distinctive importance to Grant’s life and career are deficiently marked, or unmarked entirely? Examples are the locations of the Dent townhouse on 701 South 4th St. in St. Louis and the “Summer White House” in Long Branch, New Jersey. For the Grant bicentennial, the GMA sponsored a marker for the latter site in Long Branch.
  3. Proposing new memorials to Grant: The flip side of the current controversy about public memorials to Confederates is that Grant and others on the same side during the Civil War and Reconstruction were memorialized less than leaders of the Confederacy. The bicentennial is an appropriate occasion for government and private parties to name buildings, schools (public or private), parks, roads, and municipal entities in honor of Grant. This is also an opportunity for other forms of memorials, such as the planting of trees with commemorative plaques. A number of trees were planted for the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth in 1932.

If you have ideas or would like to offer your support to advance this initiative, please contact the GMA.

Bicentennial Coin

Congress has not yet authorized such a coin, but such a measure should be adopted to note Grant’s posthumous promotion to General of the Armies of the United States. Additionally, the GMA is pleased to offer a limited edition coin commemorating the bicentennial. That is available for purchase here.

Grant Centennial Half Dollar (1922)

Besides serving a commemorative purpose, proceeds from its sale should be used to defray the cost of maintenance and operations of Grant’s Tomb and other sites related to Grant’s life and public career.

Congress has not yet authorized such a coin, but the GMA is pleased to offer a limited edition coin commemorating the bicentennial. That is available for purchase here.

Postage Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service should issue Grant postage stamps—ideally a set of four showing Grant at different stages of life, which was the format adopted for Lincoln stamps issued in 2009 for the bicentennial of his birth. While the Postal Service did not respond affirmatively to requests by the GMA and others to adopt this theme in 2022, we encourage the general public to write the Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee recommending that the Postal Service do so for a future issue of stamps. The Committee’s address is as follows:

Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
Washington, DC 20260-3501

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