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Biography

President Ulysses S. Grant

President Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses Grant 
by Brady-Handy Photograph Collection


Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States.

Served as President: 1869-1877
Vice President: Schuyler Colfax, Henry Wilson
Party: Republican
Age at inauguration: 46

Born: April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio
Died: July 23, 1885 in Mount McGregor, New York

Married: Julia Dent Grant
Children: Frederick, Ulysses, Ellen, Jesse
Nickname: Unconditional Surrender Grant

Biography:

What is Ulysses S. Grant most known for?

Ulysses S. Grant is most known for being the lead general of the Union troops during the American Civil War. His fame as a war hero propelled him into the White House where his presidency was marred by scandals.

Growing Up

General Grant at Cold Harbor
 Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant standing by
a tree in front of a tent, Cold Harbor, Va.

By the National Archives
Grant grew up in Ohio the son of a tanner. He didn't want to be a tanner like his father and spent his time on the farm where he became an excellent horseman. His father suggested that he attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. At first Grant didn't like the idea as he had no interest in becoming a soldier, however, he realized this was his chance at a college education and eventually decided to go.

After graduating from West Point, Grant became an officer in the army. During the Mexican War (1846-1848) he served under General Zachary Taylor. Later he had various posts on the west coast. Grant was lonely for his wife and family, however, and took to drinking. He eventually left the army to return home and open a general store.

The Civil War

With the start of the Civil War, Grant reentered the military. He started out with the Illinois militia and soon moved up the ranks in the army to general. In 1862 Grant had his first major victory when he captured Fort Donelson in Tennessee. He became known as Unconditional Surrender (U.S.) Grant when he told the Confederate commanders "No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender".

Grant's victory at Fort Donelson was the first major victory for the Union during the Civil War. He then led his army to victory at the city of Vicksburg, a Confederate stronghold. This victory helped to split the South's forces in two and gave the Union considerable momentum. He became a famous war hero and in 1864 President Abraham Lincoln made him General-in-Chief of the entire Union Army.

Grant then led the Union Army against Robert E. Lee in Virginia. They battled for over a year, with Grant eventually defeating Lee and the Confederate Army. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia on April 9, 1865. In an effort to restore the Union, Grant offered very generous terms of surrender allowing confederate troops to return home after surrendering their weapons.

Ulysses S. Grant's Presidency

Grant's popularity soared after the Civil War, and he easily won the presidential election in 1868. He served two terms as president and even ran for a third, which he didn't win. Unfortunately, his presidency was marked by a series of scandals. Many of the people in his administration were crooks who stole from the government. In 1873, financial speculation led to a panic and the stock market crashed. Many people lost their jobs during this time.

Despite all the scandals, Grant's presidency did have some positive accomplishments including: Post Presidency

Grant ran for a third term in office, but did not win. He decided to go on a tour of the world. He spent over two years traveling the world and meeting with important world leaders. He met with Queen Victoria in England, Prince Bismarck in Germany, the emperor of Japan, and the Pope at the Vatican. He also visited Russia, China, Egypt, and the Holy Land.

Upon returning from his trip, he decided to run for president again in 1880, however, he was unsuccessful. He spent the end of his days writing his own autobiography.

How did he die?
Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant as President
Ulysses Simpson Grant
by Henry Ulke


Grant died of throat cancer in 1885, probably as a result of smoking several cigars a day for much of his life.

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