Ulysses S. Grant Biography

Served: March 4, 1869 – April 15, 1877
Born: April 27, 1822
Birthplace: Point Pleasant, Ohio
Died: July 23, 1885
Occupation: General
Political Party: Republican
Spouse: Julia Dent


A President Committed to the Union

Ulysses S. Grant was a Union Army general who assisted the North in defeating the Confederate military during the Civil War.

He was elected as the 18th president of the United States following Andrew Johnson’s departure from the White House. He was a Republican president who was deeply committed to ending slavery as well as removing Confederate nationalism from the South.

Unfortunately, many of Grant’s appointees during his presidency performed politically corrupt acts, which reflected back onto him. Additionally, an economic depression, the Panic of 1873, lasted throughout his second term.

Though Grant made great headway with his policies during his two terms, they were short-lived: After his presidency, conservative Southerners regained control in their home states and began dismantling the changes he had made.

Ulysses S. Grant’s Pets

  • newfoundland-dogJeff Davis, wartime mount
  • Cincinnatus, saddle horse
  • Egypt and St. Louis, carriage horses
  • Julia, racing horse
  • Reb and Billy Button, Shetland ponies
  • Jennie and Mary, Nellie Grant’s mares
  • Butcher Boy, horse
  • Parrot
  • Gamecocks belonging to Jesse Grant
  • Faithful, Jesse Grant’s Newfoundland dog
  • Rosie, dog

MORE PETS! Check out our photo gallery of selected White House pets

Grant’s Military Career

Grant began his military career at 17 when he was nominated to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point.

He did not stand out academically, and he developed no close friendships. However, Grant did fairly well in his studies of mathematics and geology as well as positioning himself as an expert horseman while studying under a Prussian horse master.

president-grant-photoOnce he graduated, Grant was appointed as a regimental quartermaster in the 4th U.S. Infantry, eventually working his way up so that at the start of the Civil War, he was training volunteer regiments for the Union Army.

By 1862, he had been promoted to major general and was gaining a reputation as a tough and accomplished commander. After a few infamous victories against the Confederate Armies, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Grant as lieutenant general and commander of the Union Armies.

It was during this time that Grant defeated Confederate Army Commander Robert E. Lee, and the Confederacy itself caved in.

A War Hero Turns President

Grant served as president for two terms. He was well-liked by the American public, and his administration accomplished a great number of things, including creating the Department of Justice, protecting both African-American and Native American rights, federally funding discovery trips to the North Pole and Yellowstone, and supporting the Blaine Amendment, which promoted a separation of church and state.

Did You Know…?

  • Grant was key in abolishing the Ku Klux Klan in 1871. While the organization has never fully disappeared, it was effectively reduced during Grant’s administration.
  • The middle initial in Grant’s name doesn’t stand for anything; instead, he adopted the “S.” when a family friend misspelled his name while nominating him to West Point. Grant’s name at birth was actually Hiram Ulysses Grant.
  • Grant went bankrupt soon after retiring from politics. He began writing his memoir and died of throat cancer soon after he finished writing the book. His memoirs went on to earn his estate around $450,000.
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