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Ulysses S. Grant - with Periodic Presidents 

General Grant was the obvious choice for the Republican ticket in the election of 1868. President Grant won the election of 1868 over his opponent, New York governor, Horatio Seymour, garnering a total of 286 electoral votes. He may have been obvious, but the skills that helped him lead the Union to victory in the Civil War did not translate into the complexities of leading the large, swiftly growing, and rapidly changing nation.  Grant himself noted that he lacked political training and it showed as he ignored some of those in his party who might have kept him from some of his worst errors during his presidency.  Personally, Grant was honest to the core, but his cabinet was dogged by scandal after scandal which ultimately reflected very poorly on Grant. 


The main issue of the day was how to handle Reconstruction and the reunification of the nation.  Grant believed in the protection of the newly freed slaves and in the prevention of Confederate leaders regaining power in the south.  Grant led the effort to bring African-Americans into the mainstream of the nation with his support of the 15th amendment and legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1875.  Grant also used the full force of his presidential powers to aggressively counteract the growing terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan.

Stepping down after two terms, Ulysses S. Grant left America for a Grand Tour of Europe before eventually moving to New York.  He invested poorly, and found himself nearly penniless.  With the assistance of Mark Twain, Ulysses S. Grant began writing his memoirs.  Diagnosed with throat cancer, Grant raced to finish the book before he died…hoping to leave his family with an income.  Soon after Grant’s death on July 23, 1885, Grant’s Personal Memoirs was published and sold door to door by salesmen dressed in Civil War uniforms.  The book's success, along with his restoration to general’s rank by Congress, allowed Grant to go to his death assured that his wife had been provided for.

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