Ulysses S. Grant Essay, Research Paper
Hiram Ulysses Simpson Grant: The Man
?As the hero of the Civil War, and as President of the United States, Hiram Ulysses Simpson Grant won much fame and notoriety.? (Meives, p. #1) A guy who, in his childhood and youth never showed signs of superiority or excellence; instead was a shy, quiet, mediocre student who did just enough to get by! He was a general who had lagged through West Point Academy, set up a bakery for his troops so that they could earn extra money peddling bread, then went out and showed amazing tactical genius in the field of battle. This was the type of man who became a president that presided over perhaps the most volatile time in our nation?s history. ?Seldom has the combination of success and failure, the contradiction of affluence and poverty, and the contrast of tremendous mental powers set against dullness and indolence been so strongly represented in the life and person of a single individual.? (Carpenter p. #1-2)
Jesse Grant (Ulysses?s Dad) began a tanning operation in 1820 and became an overnight success. Jesse, son of a revolutionary war captain became a leading citizen of Point Pleasant, Ohio where Ulysses was born. Ulysses?s mom, Hannah, was the quiet, reserved daughter of a well to do farmer. Married to Jesse in 1821 she, ?Was the opposite of her garrulous husband?kept her silence, minded her business, and did as she believed right.? (Carpenter p. #2) Ulysses seemed to be a perfect example of his mom.
He was very shy, and though he was good at math, was otherwise an average student at local schools, and later, in two different boarding schools. Pushed upon by Jesse and the urge to seek life outside of a tannery, Ulysses requested and received an appointment to West Point. (This is where he got the name Simpson. The congressman who appointed Hiram believed that he held his mother?s maiden name as his middle.) While the academy did not suit his laissez faire attitude towards work, it did an overall good in enhancing aspects of engineering; a career held in high regard in the civilian world.
After his time at West Point, Grant was assigned to the 4th infantry as a brevet second lieutenant. Stationed with Fred Dent, a roommate from West Point, he became in love with Julia; one of Fred?s sisters. Before being shipped to the border of Texas, Ulysses and Julia were unofficially engaged. Some of the loneliest times of his life were spent on the front without her. Grant participated in most of the major battles of the Mexican War, all the while longing to be with his fiancee.
During the war Grant was promoted through the ranks to brevet first lieutenant, first lieutenant, and later, brevet captaincy. Within months of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, Ulysses was finally wed to his kindred love. About two years after this blessed event, the Grants had their first child, Frederick.
After returning to civilian life on July 31, 1854, Grant was a failure at any and all careers that he chose. First, he worked with his family at a tannery in Illinois, and later tried his unlucky green thumb. Nothing satisfied him. After much deliberation, Grant thought best to return to the life that he loved.
?Governor Yates finally saw the light and appointed Grant Colonel of the Seventh District Regiment of Illinois Volunteers?he learned of his appointment and went to his new command the next day, June 16, still in his civilian clothes.? (Carpenter p. #15) Early in August, Grant received the command, and honor to go along with it, of Brigadier General.
Perhaps more important to him than the military, was his family. Throughout the Civil War, Ulysses spent every free minute with his darling wife and children.
Grant was assigned duty with his men at Gettysburg, the outright bloodiest battle of the war. Grant?s troops beat off the confederates in what is said to simply be a battle of casualties. Now considered a hero in the north, U. S. Grant was persuaded into the campaign for the presidency of the country for which name his initials bear. Grant was bound to be the President of the United States.
?The four years between the end of the war and his inauguration served as Grant?s apprenticeship to national politics?neither by temperament nor by training was Grant prepared for this type of combat.? (Carpenter p. #63) While Grant did no doubt deserve this title, he did very little to gain it, but to be a spectator in an awesome duel between partisan lines.
Inaugurated in 1869, Grant may not have been the best president ever elected, or the smartest. But, Grant sure goes down in the history books as a family man. Shy, honest, tolerable. Hiram Ulysses Simpson Grant, a true American hero.