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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 49


This is the grave of Ulysses S. Grant.


Born in 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio, Grant grew up in a pretty working class or middling background. His father was a tanner. He was also a strong abolitionists. This wasn’t necessarily passed down to his son, at least not at first. Young Ulysses despised the tannery and was sent to school instead. In fact, his father lobbied for the local member of Congress, although a Democrat, to nominate the young man to West Point. Well, that worked out pretty well in the end.

Not so much at first though. He was kind of a whatever student and didn’t much care for the Army either. What he really liked was riding horses and he became perhaps the best horseman at West Point.

Ulysses S. Grant was a failure at basically everything in life up to the Civil War, rose out of obscurity and disgrace to lead the nation in the crushing of treason in defense of slavery (although Grant himself had married into a slaveholding family), became the nation’s most popular individual, served as an entirely mediocre president who was in awe of the wealthy and a sucker for the schemes of Jay Cooke that helped plunge the nation into the Panic of 1873, became a unfortunately vilified president by those who hated Reconstruction, and, in recent years, has become a wildly overrated president by those who want to reject the Dunning school of history. Ulysses S. Grant was a great general, a man with a decent but not great record on civil rights as president (he openly lamented the 15th Amendment by the end of his presidency), and has been batted around like a tennis ball by detractors and defenders. Ulysses S. Grant also liked whiskey.

Ulysses S. Grant is buried at the General Grant National Memorial, New York, New York.

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