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Ulysses S. Grant’s Biography and Career Annotated Bibliography

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Updated: May 20th, 2020

Introduction & Family background

Ulysses S. Grant was born in the Point Pleasant in the U.S state of Ohio on April, 27, 1822. Like any other child in the America’s Frontier, he grew up helping his family with daily house chores, riding on horses and fishing1. He developed much interest with horses and his father identified his talent in riding horses. Grant went to school and later grew up to joining the U.S. military. He eventually ascended to the presidency becoming then the youngest President of the United States of America2. Though his life, he was generally marked by failures, he stood strong in his leadership president.

Ulysses was the first-born son to Jesse Root Grant and Hannah Simpson Grant. He was also a brother to three sisters and two brothers. His father was a tanner and a businessperson3. Grant never liked the stench and the filth that emanated from the family business, an important perspective that would later shape events in his life.

Education

Ulysses joined the United States Military Academy at a tender age of 17 years in 1839. This was after his father realized that his son could not make a good businessperson as he was. Though he was resistant to leave for school, he could not change his father’s mind. On arrival at school, Ulysses realized that there was no one in the list of the newly admitted cadets who had a name that sounded like his. This prompted him to change his name to Ulysses S. Grant4. While in school, he showed little promise. However, he had outstanding performance in mathematics and horsemanship, which he had always proven to be his best subject. He later graduated 21st out of 39 members of cadets. However, his plan was working in the military and later resigning after serving his tour of duty5.

Military career

Grant was very much involved in the Mexican wars while serving under Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott6. He served as quartermaster and was charged with the responsibility of monitoring supplies. Under this position, he took the advantage of his leaders and observed keenly their leadership skills and military tactics. By the time the war was ending, Ulysses had risen to the rank of a lieutenant. He would served in the military until 1854 when he resigned and pursued his other interests including farming7.

When the civil war broke out in 1861, Ulysses rejoined the military and played a more senior role as a battle field commander. He was also the colonel of the 21st Illinois Infantry.8. His heroics in the war eventually helped him rise to the rank of major general. He was eventually to take charge as the commander of all union forces9.

Presidency

While the nation was healing after war in 1868, the Republicans nominated Grant as their presidential candidate. Under his slogan Let Us Have Peace’, he garnered 53% of the popular vote and 72% of the electoral vote, giving him victory against his Democrat opponent Horatio Seymour10.

During his term in office, Grant worked to reconcile the North and the South as well as reconstructing the nation’s economy that had been damaged during the war. However, his term in the White House is not renowned for anything positive. Instead, his administration is famous for numerous financial scandals attributed to members of his party11.

Besides being accused of protecting his personal aide, it was alleged that Grant’s secretary of war W.W, Belknap was involved in some fraudulent cash transactions with traders12.

However, Grant’s administration was not a total failure as he posted some outstanding achievements especially the successful passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1875, which eventually ensured that African Americans would be given the same treatment as whites. There was also the development of National Park Service13.

Post –presidential life

Ulysses S. Grant retired from his politics in 1877. He engaged himself and family in tours around the world.Being the most famous American of his time, he welcomed by world leaders and like Emperor and Empress of Japan. Most importantly, he was welcomed with cheers by people in all places he toured14.

He later settled In Illinois and assisted his son in developing a brokerage firm, which later went bankrupt. Grant eventually ended up writing memoirs to raise fund for the upkeep of his family. He later succumbed to throat cancer on July 23, 188515.

Admiration

Grant stood his grounds on matters of war. He was an opportunist who utilized his position as a quartermaster to observe skills and war tactics from his bosses. He was concerned about his family and that is why he kept moving with his new wed wife at his early stages in military. He even took her for tours on his retirement. Furthermore, he assisted in raising his son funds to develop a brokerage firm. On his failure, he was still determined to sell his memoirs to raise funds for his wife upkeep16.

Lastly, during his governance, he was able to push for amendment of the Act that advocated for equality of African Americans.

Conclusion

Despite Grant’s outstanding military career, he did not enter the annals of history as one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States of America. During his term as president, his administration could achieve much than the financial scandals that tainted his legacy.

Bibliography

Barber, James. U.S. Grant: the man and the image, with an essay by John Y. Simon. Washington, D.C.: Southern Illinois Press, 1985.

Broadwater, Robert. Ulysses S. Grant. New York: Routledge, 2012.

Dunn, Joeming. Ulysses S. Grant: 18th U.S. President. London: Sage Publishers, 2009.

Williams, Jean. Ulysses S. Grant. New York: Cengage, 2002.

Footnotes

  1. James Barber, S. Grant: the man and the image, with an essay by John Y. Simon. (Washington D.C.: Southern Illinois Press, 1985), 87.
  2. James Barber, S. Grant: the man and the image, with an essay by John Y. Simon. (Washington D.C.: Southern Illinois Press, 1985), 87.
  3. Jean Williams, Ulysses S. Grant. (New York: Cengage, 2002), 92.
  4. Joeming Dunn, Ulysses S. Grant: 18th U. S. President. (London: Sage Publishers, 2009), 67.
  5. Joeming Dunn, Ulysses S. Grant: 18th U. S. President. (London: Sage Publishers, 2009), 67.
  6. Robert Broadwater, Ulysses S. Grant. (New York: Routledge, 2012), 73.
  7. Jean Williams, Ulysses S. Grant. (New York: Cengage, 2002), 92.
  8. Jean Williams, Ulysses S. Grant. (New York: Cengage, 2002), 92.
  9. Jean Williams, Ulysses S. Grant. (New York: Cengage, 2002), 92.
  10. James Barber, S. Grant: the man and the image, with an essay by John Y. Simon. (Washington D.C.: Southern Illinois Press, 1985), 87.
  11. James Barber, S. Grant: the man and the image, with an essay by John Y. Simon. (Washington D.C.: Southern Illinois Press, 1985), 87.
  12. Jean Williams, Ulysses S. Grant. (New York: Cengage, 2002), 92.
  13. Jean Williams, Ulysses S. Grant. (New York: Cengage, 2002), 92.
  14. Robert Broadwater, Ulysses S. Grant. (New York: Routledge, 2012), 73.
  15. Joeming Dunn, Ulysses S. Grant: 18th U. S. President. (London: Sage Publishers, 2009), 67.
  16. Joeming Dunn, Ulysses S. Grant: 18th U. S. President. (London: Sage Publishers, 2009), 67.
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