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Ulysses S. Grant was commissioned JULY 25, 1866, as General of the Army, the first ever to hold that rank and wear the insignia of four silver stars.
His Civil War victories resulted in him being chosen as the Republican candidate for President in 1868.
Elected the 18th President, Grant supported ratification of the 15th Amendment, guaranteeing freed slaves the right to vote.
He signed the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, limiting Democrat vigilante and lynching activity in the South.
During the Civil War, the Federal Government had issued an excess of paper money, with it being backed by faith in the Federal Government. Grant worked to stabilize the country’s currency by having it backed by gold.
In his First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1869, President Ulysses S. Grant stated:
“Every dollar of Government indebtedness should be paid in gold…
It looks as though Providence had bestowed upon us a strong box in the precious metals locked up in the sterile mountains of the far West, and which we are now forging the key to unlock, to meet the very contingency that is now upon us.”
Of his Indian policy, Grant stated in his First Annual Message, December 6, 1869:
“The Society of Friends…succeeded in living in peace with the Indians in the early settlement of Pennsylvania…These considerations induced me to give the management of a few reservations of Indians to them.”
In his 2nd Annual Message, December 5, 1870, President Grant wrote:
“Religious denominations as had established missionaries among the Indians…are expected to watch over them and aid them…to Christianize and civilize the Indians, and to train him in the arts of peace.”
To Congress, January 1, 1871, President Grant wrote:
“Indians of the country should be encouraged…to adopt our form of government, and it is highly desirable that they become self-sustaining, self-relying, Christianized, and civilized.”
In his 3rd Annual Message, December 4, 1871, President Ulysses S. Grant wrote:
“I recommend liberal appropriations to carry out the Indian peace policy, not only because it is humane and Christianlike…but because it is right.”
Grant, being the youngest President to that date, 46 years old, had a military training of trusting subordinates which left him ill-prepared for dealing with the subtleties, intrigues, hidden motives and greed of Washington politicians, and as a result, a number of those in his Administration were involved in granting government favors and monopolies in exchange for bribes and insider deals.
In 1873, Grant’s friend and publisher, Mark Twain, called this era the Gilded Age, as immigrants arrived; railroads crossed the nation; industry expanded; iron, steel and oil production rose dramatically; and western resources of lumber, gold, and silver increased.
“Robber Barons” included:
John Jacob Astor (real estate, fur);
Andrew Carnegie (steel);
James Fisk (finance);
Henry Flagler (railroads, oil);
Jay Gould (railroads);
Edward Harriman (railroads);
Andrew Mellon (finance, oil);
J.P. Morgan (finance, industrial);
John D. Rockefeller (oil);
Charles M. Schwab (steel); and
Cornelius Vanderbilt (water transport, railroads).
Grant never profited from his position and even, as a result of his naive trust of investors, went bankrupt.
Battling throat cancer from years of smoking cigars, Ulysses S. Grant was encouraged by Mark Twain to write his Memoirs to provide an income for his wife after his death.
In 1884, encouraged by an outpouring of support from people across the country, Ulysses S. Grant, who was a Methodist, wrote:
“I believe in the Holy Scriptures, and whoso lives by them will be benefited thereby. Men may differ as to the interpretation, which is human, but the Scriptures are man’s best guide…
I did not go riding yesterday, although invited and permitted by my physicians, because it was the Lord’s day, and because I felt that if a relapse should set in, the people who are praying for me would feel that I was not helping their faith by riding out on Sunday….
Yes, I know, and I feel very grateful to the Christian people of the land for their prayers in my behalf. There is no sect or religion, as shown in the Old or New Testament, to which this does not apply.”
Just days after delivering the final manuscript to the printer, Ulysses S. Grant died on July 23, 1885.
Back when he was President, Ulysses S. Grant wrote to the Editor of the Sunday School Times in Philadelphia, June 6, 1876:
“Your favor of yesterday asking a message from me to the children and the youth of the United States, to accompany your Centennial number, is this morning received.
My advice to Sunday schools, no matter what their denomination, is: Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties; write its precepts in your hearts, and practice them in your lives.
To the influence of this Book are we indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this must we look as our guide in the future.
‘Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people.’
Yours respectfully, U.S. Grant.”