Sunday’s Salute ~ Ulysses S. Grant ~ Soldier, President, Civil Rights Champion?

Hiram Ulysses Simpson Grant is my 4th cousin 7 times removed. I have made mention of him in a couple of previous posts, but I thought I could feature him in one of the Sunday’s Salute Blogs. Then as I was researching his military career, I discovered that I was more impressed with some of the things he did as President. I have always loved history and I excelled in it in school. In all my years I don’t ever remember hearing about some of these accomplishments.

He was born on April 27, 1822 , in Point Pleasant, Ohio, and died July 23, 1885, in Mount McGregor, New York. During the Civil War, Ulysses joined the Union Army in 1861, and led the Vicksburg campaign, which gained control of the Mississippi River in 1863. After his victory at Chattanooga, President Abraham Lincoln promoted him to Lieutenant General. For thirteen months, Grant fought Robert E. Lee during the high-casualty Overland Campaign and at Petersburg. On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. A week later, Lincoln was assassinated, and was succeeded by President Andrew Johnson, who promoted Grant to General of the Army in 1866. Later Grant openly broke with Johnson over Reconstruction policies; Grant used the Reconstruction Acts, which had been passed over Johnson’s veto, to enforce civil rights for recently freed African Americans.

As a war hero but a reluctant politician, Grant was unanimously nominated by the Republican Party and was elected president in 1868. As president, Grant stabilized the post-war national economy, created the Department of Justice, and prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan. He appointed African Americans and Jewish Americans to prominent federal offices. On March 18, 1869, Grant signed his first law, pledging to redeem in gold the greenback currency issued during the Civil War. In 1871, he created the first Civil Service Commission. Grant supported both amnesty for Confederate leaders and civil rights for former slaves. He worked for ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment and went to Capitol Hill to win passage of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. The Liberal Republicans and Democrats united behind Grant’s opponent in the presidential election of 1872, but he was overwhelmingly re-elected. Grant’s Native American policy had several successes. Grant named Ely S. Parker, a Seneca Indian who had served with him as a staff officer, commissioner of Indian affairs. In foreign affairs, the Grant administration peacefully resolved the Alabama claims against Great Britain.His 1874 veto of a bill to increase the amount of legal tender diminished the currency crisis during the next quarter century, and he received praise two years later for his graceful handling of the controversial election of 1876, when both Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel Jones Tilden claimed election to the presidency.

I now have the desire to read more about all of our previous presidents to see what they accomplished while they served our nation.

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