All born in 1946, Bill Clinton, George Bush and Donald Trump and yours truly awaken to our 73d Christmas today. And, that’s about all we have in common. However, I do think that Bill and I receive our draft notices on the same day in 1969. With some concern, I report to Ft. Polk, Louisiana, as ordered and serve with distinction for 2 years. Bill seeks a political favor and opts out of his military obligation. However, Clinton, Bush and Trump do have something special in common with Hiram Ulysses Grant. His name later evolves into Ulysses S. Grant, the result of a series of clerical errors. Each of these men become President of the United States. Nearing completion of the Ron Chernow biography, GRANT, I will relate a few lasting impressions of him and his significance.
I read that although Lincoln frees the 4,000,000 person black population, the Grant Presidency makes them citizens. Grant’s perseverance with regard to enacting the 13th, 14th & 15th Amendments to the Constitution remains monumental. He believes that a strict plan of Reconstruction is required in order to reunify and maintain a peaceful nation. Grant struggles with and survives the debacle that is Andrew Johnson. Although wary of rekindling the Civil War, Grant recognizes the evil of Ku Klux Klan and its widespread Democrat support. Reluctantly, Grant uses the military to create a lasting peace and protect millions of Freedmen. These extraordinary deeds far outweigh his well known inability to use alcohol moderately. They also overshadow Grant’s noteworthy naivete with regard to loyal supporters who would use him.
As I conclude the Grant biography, Washington, D.C. appears to be substantially uncivil. And, I chuckle at a comment in the book that is most noteworthy, “There might be as much incivility now as in the days of Jefferson.” Here I sit in Oklahoma City, thinking that things cannot get any worse than today in Washington, D.C. Perhaps objectionable behavior is always present in seats of power and this Republic will survive, even thrive. Hiram Ulysses Grant is a scarcely known giant among the Presidents and Generals of this nation. Do yourself a favor and learn about him.