William (aka Bill the Godfather)

William (aka Bill the Godfather)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

In Defense of Ulysses S. Grant

RONALD REAGAN deserves posterity’s honor, and so it makes sense that the capital’s airport and a major building there are named for him. But the proposal to substitute his image for that of Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill is a travesty that would dishonor the nation’s bedrock principles of union, freedom and equality — and damage its historical identity. Although slandered since his death, Grant, as general and as president, stood second only to Abraham Lincoln as the vindicator of those principles in the Civil War era.

Born to humble circumstances, Grant endured personal setbacks and terrible poverty to become the indispensable general of the Union Army. Although not himself an abolitionist, he recognized from the very start that the Civil War would cause, as he wrote, “the doom of slavery.” Above all, he despised the Southern secessionists as traitors who would destroy democratic republican government, of which, Lincoln said in his first inaugural, there was no “better or equal hope in the world.”
Read the rest here.

The author makes some interesting points. But it seems he also downplays the rampant corruption in the Grant Administration. I have hitherto ranked Grant higher than many historians. (See my rankings here.) However I am not sold on his belonging in the same pantheon as the truly "Great" presidents.

2 comments:

Visibilium said...

According to my readings, Grant was scrupulously honest, although a bit naive in dealings as a politician and businessman.

Reactionary said...

Above all, he despised the Southern secessionists as traitors who would destroy democratic republican government

Non sequitur.