The man known as Ulysses S. Grant was born as Hiram Ulysses Grant on April 27, 1885, in
Jesse Hannah Simpson and Jesse Root Grant.
Some time during his younger years, he dropped his first name of
Hiram. When Ulysses was 17 he was
nominated for a position at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at Point
Pleasant, Ohio .
Congressman Thomas L. Hamer mistakenly wrote the nominee's name as
"Ulysses S. Grant of Ohio" with the intention of the "S"
representing his mother's maiden name (Simpson); Ulysses adopted the new
identification and said that the "S" did not "stand for
anything." His colleagues at West
Point nicknamed him "Sam" since the initials " West Point, New
York " stood for "Uncle
After Grant graduated from
Point, he served in the Mexican-American War. The Civil War began in 1861, and Grant was
assigned to train Union volunteer regiments in .
He was a general in 1862 and fought a series of battles. He was promoted to major general after he
forced a large Confederate army to surrender and gained control of Illinois Kentucky and most of .
He earned a reputation for being an aggressive commander after he
"led Union forces to victory after initial setbacks in the Battle of
Shiloh. Grant's forces "defeated
five uncoordinated Confederate armies (capturing one of them) and seized Tennessee in July
1863. this famous victory gave the Union
full control of the Vicksburg Mississippi River, split
off the western Confederacy, and opened the way for more Union triumphs."
President Abraham Lincoln promoted him to lieutenant general after the Union forces won the Battle of Chattanooga in late 1863. As lieutenant general Grant commanded all the Union Armies. He "confronted Robert E. Lee in a series of very bloody battles in 1864 known as the Overland Campaign that ended bottling up Lee at
outside the Confederate capital of . While holding Lee in Richmond , Grant "coordinated a series
of devastating campaigns launched by William Tecumseh Sherman, Philip Sheridan,
and George Thomas." The Union
Army finally broke through the
Confederate trenches and captured Petersburg
in April 1865. Lee surrendered his
forces to Grant at Richmond ,
causing the Confederacy to collapse. In
the 1870's, allies of Lee called Grant a "ruthless butcher who won by
brute force," but most historians call him a military genius. Appomattox
Grant's dominant role in the second half of the Civil War led to his election as President of the
(1869-1877). As President he advanced Reconstruction
"by enforcing civil rights laws and fighting the violence brought by the
Ku Klux Klan. Under his leadership Congress
passed the Fifteenth Amendment, which gave constitutional protection to African
American voting rights. He built the
Republican Party in the South by using the army, black voters, Northern
newcomers known as "Carpetbaggers," and native white supporters
called "Scalawags." Following
these efforts, for the first time in the history of our nation, African
Americans were represented in the U.S. Congress. United States
In spite of victories in both foreign and domestic affairs, the Grant Administration was smeared by corruption by his personal secretary and his Secretary of State. Historians gave Grant the "worst rankings" until recently when his reputation improved greatly due to his "enforcement of African American voting and citizenship rights during Reconstruction."
Grant's quotes tend to show him as a humble Conservative with compassion (as opposed to Compassionate Conservatives):
"Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace."
"Hold fast to the Bible. To the influence of this book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization and to this we must look as our guide in the future."
"I appreciate the fact, and am proud of it, that the attentions I am receiving are intended more for our country than for me personally."
"I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution."
"I know only two tunes: one of them is "Yankee Doodle," and the other isn't."
Grant was a man who knew where to plant his flag and when to fight as shown by these two quotes. "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer." "If men make war in slavish obedience to rules, they will fail."
"In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins."
"The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity."
"There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword."