Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
GRANT, Ulysses S., president of the United States 1869-77, was born in Point Pleasant, Clermont county, Ohio, April 27, 1822, was graduated at West Point in 1843, served with credit in the Mexican war, and in the war of the rebellion rose to the chief command of the armies of the United States. Aug. 12, 1867, he was appointed secretary of war ad interim by President Johnson, and Jan. 14 following he gave the position up to Stanton, when the senate disapproved the latter's removal. (See
—When Grant was first nominated and elected he had no known political opinions and no experience in civil administration. Neither of the lacking qualifications, however, was demanded in 1868; the country only desired a president who could hold taut the length of rope that had been gained, keep the peace between the lately warring sections until politics should settle back to their ordinary level, and take care that in this process the results of the war, the abolition of slavery in every form, negro suffrage, and the equality of races before the law, should not be lost. For these purposes Grant represented very exactly both the needs and the desires of a majority of the qualified voters of the country. On the one hand, his kindly and considerate treatment of Lee and his surrendered soldiers, and his report to the president in 1865 on the condition of the insurrectionary states, showed that he had no vindictive feelings toward the conquered; and on the other hand, his calm and unswerving obstinacy, as it had often been tested in the field, marked him as a man who would not be likely to vacillate before any show of opposition to the laws. On the whole, the result justified the wisdom of the popular selection; indeed, a wiser president would probably not have succeeded so well.
—Since 1874-5 the case has been very different. The very characteristics which in 1868-70 made Grant a very useful president, have since then made him an anachronism in politics. Nevertheless, a strong faction of the republican party has always been desirous to raise him again to the presidency, in spite of the blunders and scandals of his second term of office. For these latter and notorious evils, however, his civil inexperience, not his personal character, is to be blamed, and his last annual message, Dec. 5, 1876, very fairly states the case, thus: "Mistakes have been made, as all can see and I admit, but it seems to me oftener in the selections made of the assistants appointed to aid in carrying out the various duties of administering the government—in nearly every case selected without a personal acquaintance with the appointee, but upon recommendations of the representatives chosen directly by the people."
—See Badeau's Military History of Grant; Coppee's Life of Grant; Dana and Wilson's Life of Grant; Chesney's Essays in Military Biography; Young's Around the World with Grant; and authorities under articles referred to.
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