Sunday, February 20, 2011
First of all, sorry for not posting any articles yesterday, I was busy at work and couldn't post my article, but here it is! Hope you like it.
Why Ulysses S. Grant? Well, Ulysses S. Grant served as Union Army General, as General of the United States Army and also was the 18th president. He fought on the Mexican-American war, although he opposed it, he aided Mexico during the French Intervention on Mexico, sending weapons to Benito Juarez, he enforced Civil rights laws as a president and fought against the KKK.
Ulysses S. Grant, actually named Hiram U. Grant, was appointed to West Point by congressman Thomas Hamer but Thomas completely forgot about Hiram and sice Ulysses middle name was Simpson, he filled out the application as Ulysses S. Grant. Ulysses tried to change it once he was at the academy but he couldn't.
Born in 1822, Grant was the son of an Ohio tanner. He went to West Point rather against his will and graduated in the middle of his class. In the Mexican War he fought under Gen. Zachary Taylor. At the time he felt that the war was a wrongful one and believed that territorial gains were designed to spread slavery throughout the nation, writing in 1883, "Generally, the officers of the army were indifferent whether the annexation was consummated or not; but not so all of them. For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory".
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Grant was working in his father's leather store in Galena, Illinois. He was appointed by the Governor to command an unruly volunteer regiment. Grant whipped it into shape and by September 1861 he had risen to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers.
He sought to win control of the Mississippi Valley. In February 1862 he took Fort Henry and attacked Fort Donelson. When the Confederate commander asked for terms, Grant replied, "No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted." The Confederates surrendered, and President Lincoln promoted Grant to major general of volunteers.
At Shiloh in April, Grant fought one of the bloodiest battles in the West and came out less well. President Lincoln fended off demands for his removal by saying, "I can't spare this man--he fights."
For his next major objective, Grant maneuvered and fought skillfully to win Vicksburg, the key city on the Mississippi, and thus cut the Confederacy in two. This was the culmination of one of the most brilliant military campaigns of the war. With the loss of Pemberton's army and this vital stronghold on the Mississippi, the Confederacy was effectively split in half. Grant's successes in the West boosted his reputation, leading ultimately to his appointment as General-in-Chief of the Union armies. Then he broke the Confederate hold on Chattanooga.
Finally, on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House, Lee surrendered. Grant wrote out magnanimous terms of surrender that would prevent treason trials.
Following the Civil War, Grant, as commanding general, immediately had to contend with Maximilian and the French army who had taken over Mexico under the authority of Napoleon III. Grant put military pressure on the French Army to leave Mexico by sending 50,000 troops to the south Texas border led by Phil Sheridan. Grant secretly told Sheridan to do whatever it took to get Maximilian to abdicate and the French Army to leave Mexico. Sheridan sent Benito Juárez, the ousted leader of Mexico, 60,000 U.S. rifles to aid in an effort to defeat Maximillian. By 1866, the French Army completely withdrew from Mexico, leaving Maximilian to fend for himself. Maximilian, who had been installed as the Emperor of Mexico in 1864, was executed by the Mexican Army in 1867.
As President, Grant presided over the Government much as he had run the Army. Indeed he brought part of his Army staff to the White House.
During his campaign for re-election in 1872, Grant was attacked by Liberal Republican reformers. He called them "narrow-headed men," their eyes so close together that "they can look out of the same gimlet hole without winking." The General's friends in the Republican Party came to be known proudly as "the Old Guard."
Grant allowed Radical Reconstruction to run its course in the South, bolstering it at times with military force.
After retiring from the Presidency, Grant became a partner in a financial firm, which went bankrupt. About that time he learned that he had cancer of the throat. He started writing his recollections to pay off his debts and provide for his family, racing against death to produce a memoir that ultimately earned nearly $450,000. Soon after completing the last page, in 1885, he died.
Pretty much one of my favorite American figures. A great man indeed. So what do you think about this man? Leave your comments and feel free to ask any questions.