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The Ulysses S. Grant Bicentennial


April 27, 2022, will mark the 200th anniversary of Grant’s birth. The GMA will highlight events marking this milestone as it approaches.

We also call upon the general public to support the following measures:

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.
  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

As occurred in 1922 for the centennial of Grant’s birth and more recently for the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, a commemorative coin should be struck with congressional approval.

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.

Posthumous Promotion

By Grant’s 200th birthday, Congress should pass legislation authorizing and requesting the appointment of Grant posthumously as “General of the Armies of the United States,” as was done for George Washington, with the appointment effective April 9, 1865. (In Washington’s case, it was effective July 4, 1776.) Only one active-duty officer, General John J. Pershing, has held this rank. It would be fitting to accord the same honor to the man widely considered the greatest general the United States has ever produced. Congress could do this via a resolution using language similar to Public Law 94-479 (1976), which authorized Washington’s posthumous promotion.

Postage Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service should issue Grant bicentennial 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. We encourage the general public to write the Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee recommending that the Postal Service issue Grant bicentennial stamps in 2022. 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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