Ulysses S. Grant (1867–1868)
Ulysses Simpson Grant was born in 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio. He graduated from West Point in 1843 and then fought in the Mexican War under the command of General Zachary Taylor.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Grant abandoned work in his father’s Illinois leather store to command a volunteer regiment. By 1861, he had distinguished himself enough to earn the rank of brigadier general. After victories in the Mississippi Valley and elsewhere, President Abraham Lincoln elevated Grant to major general of volunteers, and by March 1864, Lincoln had promoted him to general in chief of the Union army.
At the end of the war, Grant oversaw the implementation of military reconstruction and the reduction of armed forces. In 1867, he became embroiled in the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, as Johnson fired former secretary of war Edwin M. Stanton and nominated the popular Grant to replace him. Congress, using the Tenure of Office Act of 1867, overrode Johnson’s decision, and Grant subsequently resigned his short-lived position.
In 1868, Grant ran as the Republican nominee for the presidency of the United States. He won the election that year and secured reelection in 1872. Despite growing scandals associated with his presidency, Grant had maintained his popularity but declined to run for a third term in 1876. Instead, he embarked on a world tour, only to return home to find himself in financial ruin. Ulysses S. Grant penned his Personal Memoirs as a way of ensuring his family’s economic stability and finished his military narrative shortly before he died from throat cancer in 1885.