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Ulysses in Japan


For the last few months I’ve been slowly plowing through Chernow’s Grant, which generally speaking is as good as advertised. When I have a chance I’ll have a longer post on the book itself, the subject, and the approach that Chernow takes, but along the way I’ve found it fruitful to take up a few particularly interesting bits. Yesterday, I wrote a bit at the Diplomat about the Asian portion of Grant’s 1877-1879 world tour…

Grant’s role in ending slavery was generally understood and appreciated in Asia. Grant undoubtedly benefited from the halo effect of the Lincoln presidency, but his administration’s commitment to Reconstruction, along with his own military deeds during the Civil War, ensured a positive reception among non-white peoples across Asia. Huge crowds turned out to see Grant in China and Japan, and local leaders competed for his attention. In Japan, the Meiji Emperor broke protocol by shaking Grant’s hand directly.

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