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"Ulysses S. Grant: A great soldier but a poor president?" Topic

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American Civil War

597 hits since 26 Feb 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2018 8:36 p.m. PST

"Ulysses S. Grant is considered one of the great commanders in history and one of the worst US presidents. These two volumes offer the opportunity for a reassessment of that verdict. Grant emerges from them with his career as a soldier untarnished and with posterity's verdict on his presidency revised. Grant appears as an admirable but all too human being, a truly great man on a par with Lincoln.

Ron Chernow, acclaimed biographer of Alexander Hamilton, gives us an unvarnished Grant in all his rough-hewn glory. A mid-westerner, Grant went to West Point to please his overbearing father. Though a brilliant horseman, he displayed no particular military ability or enthusiasm and after service in the Mexican War left the army under a cloud because of his drinking…"
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ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Feb 2018 7:42 a.m. PST

I've heard some good things about this book (and it is sitting on my 'to read' shelf). Apparently the author argues persuasively that Grant wasn't as bad a president as he's often made out to be.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2018 9:53 a.m. PST

Have to read it!.


SeattleGamer Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2018 12:30 p.m. PST

Grant was a hands-off general and president. He expected people to do their jobs, and if not, he would replace them. Worked fine in the military, not so much in civilian life. Trusting politicians to do the right thing is a recipe for disaster.

The scandals that rocked his presidency were not so much Grant doing something wrong, as Grant not paying attention to others mismanaging their departments.

Rich Bliss27 Feb 2018 1:17 p.m. PST

I'm right there with SeattleGamer. The traits that made Grant a great General also made him a poor president.

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member27 Feb 2018 5:00 p.m. PST

His autobiography is an excellent read.

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Mar 2018 4:30 a.m. PST

An interesting discussion of this topic was featured in a recent episode of "Civil War Talk Radio", here:


Ostrowski Inactive Member01 Mar 2018 11:56 a.m. PST

Grant played a good game with the great hand he was delivered. Other than that, he was a butcher.

steve186501 Mar 2018 4:47 p.m. PST

Ostrowski, Grant was a great General. Lee had higher PERCENTAGES of men lost THAN grant. Read Fuller.

Snowshoe02 Mar 2018 6:23 a.m. PST

In my humble opinion, Grant's Vicksburg campaign was brilliant on many levels. His campaign of 1864 in Va. was not. He was outplayed by Lee at every turn. If not for his preponderance of advantages coupled with the diminished capacities of the AoNV, he would have been soundly thrashed.
However, that does not take anything away from his grand strategy of '64 to go after the Confederacy on all points. He was absolutely correct in that. The difficulties in pulling it off in a coordinated manner were a reflection of the times and the subordinates he had to work with.

donlowry02 Mar 2018 8:38 a.m. PST

As Horace Porter pointed out, Grant lost fewer men in taking Richmond than his predecessors had lost in TRYING to take it.

That said, however, his objective was not Richmond, but Lee's army -- to defeat and destroy it if possible, but by all means to keep it too busy fighting him for it to interfere with Sherman's advance, or invade Pennsylvania again, or any of the other annoying things he might have gotten up to if given time.

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