Nickname: Unconditional Surrender
Years in office: 1869–1877
Political party: Republican
Birthday: April 27, 1822
Ulysses S. Grant’s chair from Appomattox, 1865 (Image from the Smithsonian Museum of American History)
Ulysses S. Grant’s fame as a Civil War general propelled him into the presidency. It was in these chairs that General Robert E. Lee, seated in the caned chair, surrendered to General Grant, seated in the upholstered chair. The final terms of the surrender were penned on the table placed between them.
General Grant was the obvious choice as the Republican candidate in 1868. The Democrats did not nominate the incumbent Andrew Johnson; opting instead for the governor of New York, Horatio Seymour.
The main issue was how to handle Reconstruction and the reunification of the nation. Grant believed in protecting the newly freed slaves, while preventing Confederate leaders from regaining power in the south.
President Grant won by a large margin in the electoral college.
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.
LEE’S SURRENDER TO GRANT
Appomattox Court House, VA
St. Louis, MO
GRAVESITE AND MEMORIAL
New York, NY
Davis, Kenneth C., and Pedro Martin. Don’t Know Much about the Presidents. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2014.
DeGregorio, William A., and Aaron Jaffe. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books, Inc., 2017.
Kane, Joseph Nathan, and Janet Podell. Facts about the Presidents: A Compilation of Biographical and Historical Information. New York: H.W. Wilson, 2009.
Encyclopedia Britannica, britannica.com
Library of Congress, loc.gov
Miller Center, University of Virginia, millercenter.org/the-presidency
The White House, whitehouse.gov
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