18. Ulysses S. Grant

“Unconditional Surrender”

Presidential Basics

  • Full name: Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant)
  • Years in office: 1869–1877
  • Political party: Republican
  • Vice president: Schuyler Colfax (first term); Henry Wilson (second term)
  • Age at inauguration: 46
  • Nicknames: “Unconditional Surrender,” “Hero of Appomattox,” “Useless”

Random Trivia

  • Some much needed help: Mark Twain helped Grant publish his memoirs.

Birth & Death

  • Birthday: April 27, 1822
  • Birthplace: Point Pleasant, Ohio
  • Death date: July 23, 1885
  • Place of death: Mount McGregor, New York
  • Place of burial: Grant’s Tomb – New York City, New York
  • Last words: “Water.”


  • Father: Jesse Root Grant (1794–1873); Leather tanner
  • Mother: Hannah Simpson Grant (1798–1883)
  • Wife: Julia Boggs Dent (1826 – 1902)
  • Marriage: August 22, 1848 in Missouri
  • Kids: Four
    • Frederick Dent (1850–1912)
    • Ulysses Simpson (1852–1929)
    • Ellen Wrenshall (1855–1922)
    • Jesse Root (1858–1934)
  • Homes:

Other Facts

  • Height: 5’8″
  • Eye color: Blue
  • Ancestry: English-Scotch
  • Religion: Methodist
  • Born in a log cabin: Yes
  • Owned enslaved people: Yes
  • Freemason: No


  • Early education: Local schools
  • College degree: Yes
  • College:  West Point (graduated 1843)


  • Military Service: Yes
  • Lawyer: No
  • Captain, U.S. Army in Mexican War (1846–1848)
  • U.S. Army Officer in Oregon and California (1848–1854)
  • Farmer, real estate dealer, clerk (1854–1861)
  • General in Chief of Union Army – Civil War  (1861–1865)
  • President (1869–1877)
  • Partner in brokerage firm in New York (1880–1884)
  • Writer


  • Personal Memoirs
  • Papers


General Grant was the obvious choice for the Republican ticket in the election of 1868.  His opponent was the New York governor, Horatio Seymour, as the Democrats did not nominate the incumbent Johnson.

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.

President Grant won by a large margin in the electoral college.

President Grant, although popular with the American people, had lost the support of some Republican leaders.  These Liberal Republicans split from their party and  nominated newspaper mogul Horace Greeley.  The Democrats agreed, nominating him as well.

The issue of the day was again Reconstruction.  Grant wanted to keep federal intervention in the southern governments, while the Democrats wanted to return the south to local control.  Grant was also struggling with stories of corruption in his administration. Even still, Grant won by a large margin.

This is the first election that the 15th Amendment applied, giving African-American men the right to vote. Also interesting to note, Greeley died before the electoral votes were cast.

Campaign Poster

The Working-Man’s Banner, lithograph published by Currier & Ives, c. 1872 (Library of Congress)


© 2021 Periodic Presidents, PJ and Jamie Creek