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Ulysses S Grant and His Contributions to America

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Hiram Ulysses Grant, most commonly known as Ulysses S Grant, was the United States of America’s eighteenth president. 

Grant was born on April 27, 1822. When Grant was growing up he attended schools in Georgetown, Ohio. When he wasn’t at school, he was working on his family farm. He loved playing with the horses. Grants father, Jesse Root Grant was born January 23, 1794 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Jesse Grant made a great deal of money as a tanner. Ulysses hated helping his father on the tanning line. In May of 1839, Grant headed from Ohio to go to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. When Grant was registered, his name was miss wrote. He was registered under the name Ulysses S Grant. He ended up going by this name. After four years, he graduated from West Point on July 1, 1843 and was commissioned a Brevet Second Lieutenant. Grant graduated 21st out of 39 in his class. He was then stationed to a fourth infantry in St. Louis Jefferson Barracks. Here is where he meets his future wife, Julia. After Grants honeymoon, he is reassigned to Sackets Harbor, New York. At this point, Grant had become bored with tediousness of peacetime army. He did however thoroughly enjoyed playing cards, racing his horse, Cicotte, and taking Julia to dances. Grant continues to be moved around when he was sent to Humboldt Bay in July of 1852. Grant finds himself being overwhelmed with loneliness and he misses his wife and kids. Finally after two years, Grant resigns from his commission in August of 1854 and returned home to his family that is currently residing in Missouri. When he comes home, started off working on a farm and later worked in real estate. In May of 1860 he moves again to Galen, Illinois where he begins working at his father’s leather shop again as a clerkship. Here he only makes eight hundred dollars a year.

On June 17, 1861, Grant enlisted in the army again because of the civil war. While in the army, Grant developed a serious smoking habit at which he would smoke an estimate of twenty cigarettes a day. On August 9, 1861, grant was promoted to brigadier general by President Lincoln because he impressed his commanders so much with his transcendent ability to train boys into soldiers. The battle of Belmont was the first battle for Grant as a general. The Union attacked the Confederates camp but fell back during the counterattack. This battle is sometimes referred to as the “fighting retreated” for the Union. However, because of this battle the union gained some well needed experience. Grant has his first victory on February of 1682 at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. This victory makes Grant nationally famous for his dispatch ‘No terms except immediate and unconditional surrender. I propose to move immediately upon your works’. There were 15,000 confederates that surrendered to Grant. After the victory the war was nicknamed “unconditional surrender” due to Grants demand for complete surrender. This major victory made President Lincoln extremely happy. So happy in fact that he promoted Grant to Major General. April 6, 1862, Grant and his arm were attacked by confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston at Shiloh Church. After a couple of attempts to take over Vicksburg, Grant finally got a chance to put his grand strategy into motion between May 12, 1863 and May 17, 1863. Vicksburg was an important place for the confederates because it was used for communication and shipping. After five day, he fought and defeated the enemy at Jackson, Champion Hill, and Big River with approximately 42,000 men under his command. But Grant has yet captured Vicksburg. Between this time period of May 19 and May 22 of 1863 Grant tries to attack Vicksburg twice but both times he fails. The union forces then settled down for a siege. On July 4, 1863, Grant finally gets the victory that he has been so desperately fighting for. Grant captured and imprisoned 20,000 confederate soldiers. During this time period of war, whenever one soldier died in combat, two more died from a disease. This fact gives insight to how unsanitary hospitals and all were. In the summer of 1863, Grant finally gets to get some time that he’s been wanting with his family. He had missed his family very much and couldn’t wait to see them. They spend the summer together in a house in Vicksburg. Even though he desperately wanted more time with this family, he had to go back to fighting on October 22, 1863 where he fought in the battle of Chattanooga, Tennessee against William S. Rogers. The union is very successful in this battle, with union victories at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, the confederates are forced to move deeper into Tennessee. Grant continues to move up when he is promoted to Lieutenant General on March 9, 1863. Once again President Lincoln promoted him and in March 12, 1863 Grant is appointed to General Chief of all United States armies. 

The next big battle that Grant is in is the Battle of the Wilderness against Robert E. Lee. When the battle ended in draw, Grant had lost over two times as many men as Lee had. Fight after fight between the two fierce and determined generals end in a draw. On May 11, 1863, Grant wrote another famous dispatch saying “I purpose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer”. During the battle of Cold Harbor, Grant loses about 7,000 men in an hour. This was Grants lowest point while being a general. The Rebels lost approximately 32,000 while the Federals lost 50,000. Grant had a greater advantage over Lee when it came to losing men because he had an easier time replacing his men whereas for Lee, he couldn’t replace his men near as fast enough. Due to Lee’s lack of men, he had to surrender on April 9, 1865 in the Mclean House, Appomattox, Virginia. “The war is over,” Grant says, “the Rebels are again our countrymen and the best sign of rejoicing is to abstain from all demonstration in the field”. When Lee surrendered, Grant only required them stop fighting and lay down their weapons. President Lincoln asked Grant if he would come stay at the White House and go to the theater together but Grant politely rejected this due to the fact that he missed his family dearly where were living in New Jersey. If he would have accepted this offer, he would have been in Ford’s Theater the night that John Wilkes Booth killed President Lincoln. Union General Sherman also accepted confederate general Johnston’s surrender on the same terms as Grant gave Lee. This ended fighting in the south. On July 25, 1868, congress created a new rank of general for Grant. Grants title is now a four star general. At the end of the war 600,000 soldiers died. 350,000 of the soldiers were with the Union and 250,000 of the soldiers were with the confederate. Due to the war ended, everyone who had slaves had to release them. Only the states that would ratify the thirteen and fourteenth amendment would be readmitted to the Union. Grant fully supported equal rights for African Americans.

Grant was elected Secretary of War and Advisor to the President in 1867 when Edwin M. Staton whom was previously fired by President Johnson. Staton was later given back the job due to being fired unwarranted. Grant was however chosen in 1868 by the Republican Party as it presidential candidate. Grant accepted nomination by giving the following speech: “The proceedings of the convention were marked with wisdom, moderation and patriotism, and, I believe, express the feelings of the great mass of those who sustained the country through its trials. I endure their solutions, if elected to the office of President of the United States, it will be my endeavor to administer all the laws in good faith, with economy, and with the view of giving peace, quiet and protection everywhere in times like the present it is impossible, or at least eminently improper to lay down a policy to adhered to, right or wrong, through an administration of four years. New political issues, not foreseen, are constantly arising, the views of the public on old ones are constantly changing, and a purely administrative officer should always be left free to execute the will of the people. I always have respected that will, and always shall. Peace and universal prosperity- its sequence- with economy of the national debt. Let us have peace”. This speech just goes to show you how much respect Grant has for our nation and how much he wants to see it succeed. Grant received a lot of attention for that last sentence, “Let us have peace”. During this presidential election, there were only two parties with a running candidate. Both the democrats and the republicans wanted Grant. When took the republicans nomination, the republicans campaigned as “the party who won the war, led by the man who had done it”. At the age of forty-six, Grant was elected President on March 4, 1869. Grant received 3,012,833 votes and 214 electoral votes. Grant received all of Ohio’s, his home state’s, electoral votes and received 280,159 votes. His opponent, Horato Seymour, a democrat, only received 2,703,249 votes and 8 electoral votes. Seymour considered his acceptance to run against Grant as “the mistake of my life”. There was an estimated five hundred thousand African Americans that voted for the first time. Majority of the votes were in Grants favor. During Grants first year as president many people considered him to be untrustworthy due to his friendships with James Fisk and Jay Gould. At the time Grant didn’t realized that they were doing illegal things. They were trying to take over the gold market. When Grant eventually found out about their plan, he ordered that the four million dollars of government gold that was taken be put back in the market. This lowered the prices of gold but it saved the government from an economic disaster down the road. Grants main goal while being in office was to hope ensure equal rights for African Americans. Grant was able to create and enforce the fifteenth amendment which allowed black men to vote. The Enforcement Act of 1870 stated that the government could send troops to the southern states if anyone tried to keep a black man from voting. In 1871, the US signed a treaty with Britain called the Treaty of Washington which required Britain to repay the United States fifteen million dollars. As if Grant needed anymore scandals during his presidency, there was another one dealing with the transcontinental railroad that cost the US three million dollars. The owners of the construction company that built the railroad called the Mobiler of American tried to pocket some of the money the government had given them. When they were caught, Grant’s Vice President was caught accepting money from them which made Grant look very bad.

Grant was nominated again after his first term to run for presidency against Horace Greeley in 1872.During this presidential election, there were a total of six different parties issued for a platform. There was the Straight out Democrats, Labor Reform Party, Repulicans, Democrats, Librial Repulican Party, and the Prohibition Party Grant. Grant won the election with 3,597,132 votes and two hundred and eighty six electoral votes. Ohio was still a big advocacy for Grant racking him 281,852 votes and all of their electoral votes. His opponent, Horace Greeley, had 2,834,125 votes and 42 electoral votes. During Greeley’s campaign, he said “I have been assailed so bitterly that I hardly knew whether I was running for the presidency or penitentiary”. Grant was 50 years old when he was inaugurated for the second time on March 4, 1873. In the fall of 1873, banks began closing down and many American lost their jobs. This was all happening because of the civil war that had recently ended. This depression lasted five years. Another scandal came about when Secretary of Treasury, William Richardson placed a friend in charge of collecting taxes from people. Richardson made a deal with the friend that he could keep have of whatever he collected from the people. This friend pocketed approximately $200,000. The scandals continued with Grant’s Secretary of War who was involved in the illegal sale of a Native American treading post. During Grant’s presidency, Alexander Graham Bell invited the telephone and the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was enacted. This stated that whites could no longer keep blacks out of public places such as theaters, hotels, and restaurants. These acts that he had worked so hard to enforce were abortive. Grant left the office disappointed in 1877.

After Grant’s presidency, he and his family went on a world tour in May of 1877 to September of 1879. Grant’s favorite countries that he visited were Japan and Switzerland. After coming back from the trip, Grant doesn’t secure his third nomination as president and instead goes to investing into many businesses. On December 24, 1883, Grant slipped and fell which caused him to have to use either crutches or a cane for the rest of his life. The firm that he had invested in went out of businesses in May of 1884. Grant had many debts which caused him to be in a state of affliction when thinking about how he was going to supply for his family. His friend Mark Twain, famous writer, suggested that he write his memoirs for money. In September of 1884, Grant got really sick and went to the doctor. The doctor diagnosed him with throat cancer. The cancer quickly spreads and causes him to only be able to have liquids. He was engulfed in pain but he whole heartily wrote his memoirs in hopes that it would be enough to help his family with money. Grant’s doctors advised him and his family to move to Mt. McGregory, New York due to the cooler climatic. At this point, Grant is about one hundred and twenty pounds and is extremely weak. He falls often from his chair and does a really good job hiding his pain from his family. On July 19, 1885, Grant finally finished his memoirs. Four days later on July 23, 1885 at 6:05, Grant passed away. His memoirs are published by Mark Twain and sold for over three hundred thousand copies, becomes the bestselling book in the US, and earns Julia five hundred thousand dollars. Grants memoirs are considered to be the best well written from any president.

Grant is currently remembered as a great general who helped restore the country in its time of crisis, and as a president whom worked as hard as he could to reunite the nation and ensure equality to everyone.

“Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace.”

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