Ulysses S. Grant
“Let us have peace”
Eighteen presidents of the United States and a former soldier took the office at the age 46. He was president for two terms.
He graduated from the U.S Military Academy at West Point, one of the toughest schools in the country.
His name was in fact Hiram Ulysses Grant, but once when he had an appointment to West Point in 1839. Congressman Thomas Hamer, mistakenly wrote Grant’s name as Ulysses S. Grant on the document that Grant submitted to the military academy. Hamer was an old family friend; he perhaps assumed that Grant’s middle name was Simpson as his mother’s maiden name and the middle name of his younger brother. Grant happened to really like the change and decided on keeping the name. Especially, after his initial as U. S got him lots of attention at the academy.
Grant fought in the Mexican war while he was even against it. He had done it for the sense of duty to his country. The country was economically unstable and although The Civil War had ended four years earlier than his administration but the country was still not at peace. He believed that it is the time for all Americans to put the conflict behind and grow together in peace.
Grant was a great general and he became a president military leader. He was very successful in battles with his clever strategies which would often end in victories. Grant had recommendations from President Abraham Lincoln, who believed about Grant that “He fights”!
Grant was a very popular president, he was receiving dozens gifts and have been gifted very expensive properties, valuable books, horses and cigars…not mentioning the $100,000 in cash from New York City!
He strongly supported the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which states that no citizen can be denied the right to vote based upon race, color or previous condition of servitude.
However, Grant didn’t have it all. He was a great general but he acted weakly in financial sector.
During The Civil War, government had printed money called “greenbacks” to help farmers and workers pay for their needs. But unlike dollars and coins, greenbacks value was very unstable. Grant tried to address the greenbacks problem and overcome the issue, but at the meantime two Wall Street investors Jay Gould and Jim Fisk were buying huge amount of gold and pushing up its value. This action resulted in a financial crisis called Black Friday on September 24, 1869 and it forced the stock market to close.
Grant acted on this crisis by authorizing governments to sell some of its own gold reserves to help bring the price back down. Eventually it solved the problem but historians believe that if Grant acted more quickly on greenbacks it all could have been avoided. During his second term Grant successfully achieved reducing the number of greenbacks to help the economic recovery.
There were some more positive developments in Grant’s presidency, for instance; congress passed a bill calling for equal pay for women and men holding similar jobs in government agencies. He also protected his country from going to a war with Spain.
Grant appeared very popular internationally as he was domestically. Grant and his wife Julia, went on a world tour where they have been greed and welcomed by many foreign nations. They met with Queen Victoria of England, Pope in Room and emperor of Japan. They also met with royalty in Austria and Russia, also were provided with a tour on Nile River in Africa by the ruler of Egypt. They also visited China, India and toured the Holy Land of Middle East.
However, Grant was not only very successful with American economy but he also was not lucky with personal finances. He went bankrupt after he invested heavily in a New York investment banking firm that failed.
It suggested to Grant by famous author Mark Twin about writing his memory. Twin helped Grant to get a profitable deal with a publishing company that Twin was partly owned. Grant finished writing his memories just a few weeks before he died from a throat cancer in 1885. His book, The Personal Memories of U. S Grant was published the following year and become the best –seller.
Profit from the book paid off the family debts and left Julia with financial security before she died in New York in 1902.
Grant’s Tomb along Hudson River in New York City is one of the “must-see” attractions. I personally missed seeing it and haven’t got a chance of visiting the Hudson River site in New York, but surely it remains in my list until I get a chance to bite on the beautiful Big Apple once again. I love that city. It is big, it never sleeps and it has a lot to offer. I felt like I am in the center of the world when I was in Manhattan for the first time. It is enough about New York now. Follow me on my next post for a bio on the nineteenth president of the United State, Rutherford B. Hayes.