Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant lived an interesting life. He gave so much to this country. His life was
exciting and he lived in many different places, from small houses to a house given by people to
the white house. From saving the blacks from more slavery to giving the U.S. bad years from

Ulysses S. Grant was an American general and the 18th president of the U.S.
(Williams 53).Grant was born in point pleasant, Ohio, on April 27 ,1822, the son os Hannah
Simpson and Jesse Grant, the owner of a tannery (Williams 52). In 1839, under the name of
Ulysses Simpson, instead of his original Hiram Ulysses, he was appointed to West Point
(“Ulysses”Online). Graduating 21st in a class of 39,loosing to Robert E. Lee, who came 1st
(“Ulysses”Online). There he met Julia Dent, whom he married after the Mexican war

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During the Mexican war, Grant served under both General Zachary Taylor and
General Winfield Scott and distinguished himself (“Ulysses”Online). In 1854, while stationed at
Fort Humboldt, California, Grant resigned his commission because of loneliness and drinking
problems, and in the following years he engaged in generally unsuccessful farming and business
ventures in Missouri(Williams 19- 59). He moved to Galena, Illinois, in 1860, where he became
a clerk in his father’s leather store (Williams 21).

In the Civil War, after an indecisive battle raid on Belmont, Missouri, he gained fame
when in February 1862, in conjunction with the navy; he succeeded in reducing Forts Henry and
Donelson, Tennessee, forcing General Simon B. Buckner to accept unconditional surrender and
earned him the nickname Unconditional Surrender Grant (Williams 52). In 1863 he established
his reputation as a strategist in the brilliant campaign against Vicksburg, Mississippi, which took
place on July 4 (“Ulysses”Online). After being appointed commander in the west, he defeated
Braxton Bragg at Chattanooga (“Ulysses”Online). Grant’s victories made him so prominent that
he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and in February 1864 was given command of
all Union armies(“Ulysses”Online).

Grant accompanied the army of the Potomac in its overland assault on Richmond,
Virginia.Grant continues to press the drive against General Robert E. Lee’s army
(“Ulysses”Online). After Sherman’s success in Georgia and the conquest of Shenandoah Valley
by General Philip H. Sheridan, Grant forced Lee to abandon Petersburg and Richmond and to
surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9 (“Ulysses”Online).

As the country’s best known military leader, he became the Republican candidate for
president in 1868 and defeated his democratic rival, Horatio Seymour (Williams 53). Grants
military experience ill prepared him for his new duties, he faced major problems with
Reconstruction, civil service reform, and economic adjustment, he did not know how to choose
proper advisors or to avoid the pitfalls of an age of corruption (Williams 57). Irregularly trying to
protect the tights of the freed slaves, he repeatedly intervened but could no prevent the
reappearance of white supremacists in all but a few southern states (“Ulysses”Online).

Other problems were equally troublesome, in 1871 Grant appointed a civil service
commission headed by George W. Curtis, but because of the president’s increased trust in corrupt
republican machines, he was ill fitted to end the system of whereby federal jobs were distributed
as rewards for political loyalty (“Ulysses”Online). More over his inexperience in economic
matters and his unreasonable respect for wealth rendered him easy prey to scheming adventures,
In 1869 Jay Gould and James Fisk took him in, in their attempt to corner the gold market, which
he stopped only at the last moment (“Ulysses”Online). In 1872 rebel reformers, breaking with t
he administration by organizing the Liberal Republican Party, nominated Horace Greeley, who
also received the democrats support, to challenge Grant for reelection , although the president won
easily, his second administration was tainted by many scandals, including the Credit Mobiler
affair, in which Vice-President Schuyler Colfax and others were accused of taking bribes; the
Whiskey Ring, in which Grant’s Secretary schemed with a group of distillers to cheat the
government of taxes; and the impeachment of Secretary of War William W. Belknap
(“Ulysses”Online). All contributed to the failure of the administration, in addition, the Panic of
1873 resulted in widespread unemployment and the loss of the House of Representatives to the
democrats (“Ulysses”Online). Only in foreign affairs did Grant have some success
(“Ulysses”Online). He suffered an initial setback in the Senate, which refused to sanction his
uncertain scheme to purchase Santo Domingo (“Ulysses”Online). Thereafter, however, Secretary
of State Hamilton Fish established a distinguished record by settling outstanding difficulties with
Great Britain with the Treaty of Washington in 1871, and keeping the country clear of Cuban
rebellion against Spain (“Ulysses”Online).

After retiring from the presidency, Grant took a long trip around the world. Returning in
1879, he became an unsuccessful candidate for the presidential nomination, which went to James
A. Garfield (Williams 58). In 1881 Grant moved to New York City, Where he became a partner in
the Wall Street firm of Grant and Ward; he was so close to ruin when the company collapsed in
1884 (“Ulysses”Online). To provide for his family, he wrote his memoirs while fighting cancer of
the throat; he died at Mount Gregor, New York, on July 23,1885 (Williams 52-59).

He gave so much to this country and we never had a chance to thank him, not by giving
stuff to him like the memorial but to say it up close and shaking hands with him. He was a great
General by giving the slaves freedom and fighting for them, if he hadn’t fought for us think
about where we would be right know. From the best General of the U.S. Army to 1 of the worst
Presidents he still did good for this country.


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