Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Jul 23 (1885) U.S. Grant Succumbs to Cancer: "Up to the rebellion, Europe believed our republic a rope of sand"
The 18th President and Union general Ulysses S. Grant died on this day in 1885. A two-term President, he enforced civil rights laws for African-Americans and Native-Americans as well as financial conservatism for the nation. His veto of the "Inflation Bill"--which denied a bank bail-out during the Panic of 1873--was unpopular, but it recast the Republican Party as one that stood for fiscal restraint.
While dying of throat cancer, Grant wrote his memoir which today is praised by military generals and literary critics alike. In it he argued the Civil War ultimately made us stronger.
"It is probably well that we had the war when we did. We are better off now than we would have been without it...Our republican institutions were regarded as experiments up to the breaking out of the rebellion, and monarchical Europe generally believed that our republic was a rope of sand that would part the moment the slightest strain was brought upon it. Now it has shown itself capable of dealing with one of the greatest wars that was ever made, and our people have proven themselves to be the most formidable in war of any nationality."
Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library of Mississippi State University
Personal Memoirs of US Grant
Grant, a biography by Jean Edward Smith
Watch a biography of Ulysses S. Grant on PBS' American Experience