18th U.S. President: Ulysses S. Grant

About the eighteenth President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant, his birth, death, biography, description, facts and quotes.

18th President

ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT

Born: April 27, 1822, Point Pleasant, Ohio.

Died: July 23, 1885, Mount McGregor resort, N.Y., ending his battle with throat cancer.

Career: Sent to West Point by his father against his will, graduated near bottom of his class, army commission, career officer, but forced to resign because of heavy drinking. After unsuccessful farming and real estate ventures, Grant (age 38) returned home for a job as clerk in his father's store. The Civil War rescued him from his cycle of failure, as he won a commission as colonel of volunteers. Due to a combination of luck and military genius, he rose through the ranks to the position of general in chief of all Union armies. After his service in the White House, Grant incurred a debt of $16 million in a disastrous venture on Wall Street, and wrote his best-selling Memoirs in an effort to restore his family's fortunes.

Personal Life: A devoted family man, Grant was deeply dependent on his plump wife, Julia. His favorite among his 5 children was Nellie, a celebrated beauty who enjoyed a spectacular White House wedding at age 17.

His Person: Exactly 5'8 1/2" tall, always walked in a slouch, rough reddish beard, clear blue eyes. By the time he reached 40 his drinking problems were under control; as President he would turn down his glass at White House dinners when waiters came around offering wine. Smoked 20 cigars every day.

Elections: In 1868, America's greatest war hero easily defeated Democrat Horatio Seymour, 214 electoral votes to 80. Grant was helped by the newly enfranchised black voters of the South. Four years later, despite scandals in his Administration and a split in Republican ranks, Grant won an even bigger landslide, beating Horace Greeley by 750,000 votes. Greeley won only 66 electoral votes, and he died in humiliation before they could be officially cast.

Term of Office: March 4, 1869-March 4, 1877 (8 years). Grant's try for a 3rd term in 1880 was blocked by the Republican convention.

Little-Known Facts: During the Civil War, Grant would often breakfast on a cucumber soaked in vinegar. If he ate meat at all, it had to be cooked black; he detested the sight of blood, and a serving of rare meat was enough to make him queasy.

Quote from Grant:

"The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike at him as hard as you can, and keep moving on."

Quotes about Him:

"He combined great gifts with great mediocrity."--Woodrow Wilson

"I cannot spare this man; he fights."--Abraham Lincoln

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