Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), (1822-1885.) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
Ulysses S. Grant, born Hiram Ulysses Grant (April 27, 1822 - July 23, 1885), was an American general and the eighteenth President of the United States (1869 - 1877). He achieved international fame as the leading Union general in the American Civil War.
Grant first reached national prominence by taking Forts Henry and Donelson in 1862 in the first Union victories of the war. In 1865, after conducting a costly war of attrition in the East, he accepted the surrender of his Confederate opponent Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House. Grant has been described by J.F.C. Fuller as "the greatest general of his age and one of the greatest strategists of any age." His Vicksburg Campaign in particular has been scrutinized by military specialists around the world.
In 1868, Grant was elected president. He led Radical Reconstruction and built a powerful patronage-based Republican party in the South, with the adroit use of the army. He took a hard line that reduced violence by groups like the Ku Klux Klan.
Presidential experts typically rank Grant in the lowest quartile of U.S. presidents, primarily for his tolerance of corruption. In recent years, however, his reputation as president has improved somewhat among scholars impressed by his support for civil rights for African Americans. Unsuccessful in winning the nomination for a third term in 1880, bankrupted by bad investments, and terminally ill with throat cancer, Grant wrote his Memoirs, which were enormously successful among veterans, the public, and the critics.