Why was Ulysses S Grant a hero

Ulysses Grant (1822-1885) commanded the victorious Union Army during the American Civil War (1861-1865) and was the 18th US President from 1869 to 1877. Grant was from Ohio and, at the request of his parents, graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point. He fought in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). During the Civil War, Grant, an aggressive and determined leader, was given command of all US armies. After the war he became a national hero and the Republicans named him their presidential candidate in 1868. A major focus of Grant's tenure as US President was on reconstruction. He strove to reconcile North and South while trying to protect the civil rights of freed black slaves. Many grants staff were corrupt, and his presidency was clouded by various scandals. After his retirement, Grant invested in a brokerage firm that went bankrupt. He spent his last days writing his memoirs, which were published in the year of his death and which turned out to be a financial success.

 

Ulysses S. Grant's early years

Hiram Ulysses Grant was born on April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio. The following year he moved to Georgetown, Ohio with his parents, Jesse Grant and Hannah Simpson Grant, where his father ran a tannery.

In 1839, Jesse Grant arranged for his son to be admitted to the US Military Academy at West Point. The Congressman who appointed Grant mistakenly believed his first name was Ulysses and his middle name Simpson (his mother's maiden name). Grant never changed the mistake and accepted Ulysses S. Grant as his real name, despite claiming that the "S" stood for nothing.

In 1843 Grant graduated from West Point. He was made second lieutenant in the 4th Infantry, stationed at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri near St. Louis. The following year he met Julia Dent, the sister of one of his classmates at West Point and the daughter of a merchant and planter.

After Grant was first used in the Mexican-American War, he returned to Missouri and married Julia in August 1848. The couple eventually had four children: Frederick Dent, Ulysses Jr., Nellie and Jesse Root. During the early years of his marriage, Grant was assigned a number of outlying army posts, some on the west coast, keeping him separated from his family. In 1854 he resigned from the military.

 

Ulysses S. Grant and the Civil War

Ulysses S. Grant, now a civilian, was reunited with his family in White Haven, a plantation in Missouri where Julia grew up. There he made an unsuccessful attempt in agriculture, followed by a failed career in real estate. In 1860 the Grants moved to Galena, Illinois, where Ulysses worked in his father's leather goods store.

After the Civil War began in April 1861, Grant became general of the Illinois 21st Infantry Regiment, which was made up of volunteers. Later that summer, President Abraham Lincoln made Grant a brigadier general. Grant's first major victory came in February 1862 when his troops captured Fort Donelson, Tennessee. When the Confederate General in charge of the fort asked about the terms of the surrender, Grant replied that they would not accept anything but unconditional surrender.

In July 1863, Grant's forces captured Vicksburg, Mississippi, a Confederate stronghold. Grant, who gained a reputation as a tenacious and determined commanding officer, was appointed lieutenant general by Lincoln on March 10, 1864, and was given command of all US armies. He led a series of combat operations that ultimately worn down the Confederate Army and helped end the deadliest conflict in US history. On April 9, 1865, the Confederate General Robert Lee surrendered to Grant. The civil war was over.

Five days later, on April 14, Lincoln was murdered by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth while attending a play at Ford's Theater in Washington, DC. Grant and his wife had been invited to accompany the President that evening, but declined.

 

From war hero to US president

After the war, Ulysses S. Grant became a national hero and was named America's First Four Star Officer in 1866 on the recommendation of President Andrew Johnson. In the summer of 1867, tension was high between Johnson and the radical Republicans in Congress as they advocated a more aggressive approach to rebuilding the south. The President fired a loud critic of his policies, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, from the cabinet and replaced him with Grant. Congress accused Johnson of violating the Tenure of Office Act, which governed dismissals from the Cabinet of Ministers, and called for Stanton's reinstatement. In January 1868, Grant resigned from his post, breaking with Johnson.

That same month, the Republicans nominated Grant as their presidential candidate and selected Schuyler Colfax, a US congressman from Indiana, as his companion. The Democrats named former New York Governor Horatio Seymour as a presidential candidate, along with Francis Blair, a US Congressman from Missouri. In the elections, Grant won with more than 52 percent of the vote. At the age of 46, he became the youngest president in US history to date.

 

Ulysses S. Grant at the White House

Ulysses S. Grant was sworn in as the 18th US President in the middle of the reconstruction period. The reintegration of the eleven states that separated before or at the beginning of the civil war was turbulent. As president, Grant tried to promote reconciliation between North and South. He supported pardons for former Confederate generals while trying to protect the civil rights of freed slaves. In 1870 the 15th amendment was ratified, which gave black men the right to vote. Grant signed laws to limit the activities of white terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan. At various times the president deployed troops across the south to maintain law and order.

In addition to focusing on rebuilding, Grant signed laws to establish the Department of Justice, the Meteorological Bureau, and Yellowstone National Park, America's first national park. He also tried, with limited success, to improve conditions for indigenous tribes. Grant's administration made foreign policy advances by negotiating the Washington Treaty of 1871, which regulated US claims against England. The treaty improved relations between the United Kingdom and the United States. Grant's attempt to annex the Caribbean nation of Santo Domingo, now the Dominican Republic, was less successful.

In 1872 a group of Republicans who opposed Grant's policies and believed he was corrupt formed the Liberal Republican Party. They named New York newspaper editor Horace Greeley as their presidential candidate. The Democrats also nominated Greeley in the hope that this would increase the odds against Grant. Instead, however, Grant and his colleague Henry Wilson, a US Senator from Massachusetts, won with almost 56 percent of the vote.

During Grant's second term, he struggled with the aftermath of the Great Depression of 1873 and various scandals that plagued his government. He continued to grapple with issues related to reconstruction. Grant did not seek a third term.

 

Ulysses S. Grant's scandals

Ulysses S. Grant's tenure was marked by scandals and corruption, although he was neither involved nor benefited from it. During his first term in office, a group of speculators led by James Fisk and Jay Gould attempted to influence the government and manipulate the gold market. The failed conspiracy led to a panic in the financial market on September 24, 1869, which came to be known as Black Friday. Although Grant was not directly involved, his reputation suffered as a result.

Another major scandal was the whiskey ring, uncovered in 1875, which involved a network of distillers, traders, and officials who conspired to scam the federal government with millions of alcohol tax receipts. Grant's private secretary Orville Babcock was therefore also charged. However, the president defended him, which led to his acquittal.

Grant's presidency came at a time of “machine politics” and the patronage of political appointments. To combat the corruption and inefficiency that arose from this system, Grant set up a Civil Service Commission to develop fairer methods of hiring and promoting government employees. However, public service reform met opposition in Congress and among members of the grant administration. Funding for the commission was suspended until 1876, and standardized tests were introduced instead. Permanent reform did not begin until 1883 when President Chester Arthur signed the Pendleton Civil Service Act. From then on, it was an applicant's skill, not nepotism, that led to government employment.

 

Ulysses S. Grant's later years

After Ulysses S. Grant and his family left the White House in March 1877, they embarked on a two-year trip around the world, meeting with dignitaries in many countries and cheering crowds. At the Republican National Convention of 1880, a group of delegates voted to reappoint Grant as a presidential candidate. But James Garfield was finally able to win the nomination. He won the election and became the 20th US President.

In 1881 Grant purchased a building on the Upper East Side in New York City. He invested his savings in a finance company in which his son was a partner; However, the company's other partner defrauded its investors in 1884, which resulted in the business failing and Grant going bankrupt. In order to provide for his family, the former president decided to write memoirs. At the end of 1884 he was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx.

Grant died at the age of 63 on July 23, 1885 in Mount McGregor, New York. His memoir, published that same year by friend Mark Twain, became a huge financial hit.

More than a million people gathered in New York City to watch Grant's funeral procession. The former president was buried in a grave in New York's Riverside Park. His final resting place, known as the General Grant National Memorial, was funded by donations. In April 1897, on the occasion of his 75th birthday, it was inaugurated as America's largest mausoleum. When Julia Grant died in 1902, she was buried next to her husband.