• Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Pinterest Social Icon
  • Google+ Social Icon

Presidency

1869-1877

Ulysses Grant was inaugurated the 18th President of the United States in March of 1869. Although not a career politician he vowed to do everything in his power to fulfill his duty to the people. President Grant got off to a rocky start with his initial nominations being criticized and some denied. His brother-in-law Fred Grant, Elihu Washburne and military staff members John Rawlins, Orville Babcock, Horace Porter and Adam Badeau all received positions. One of his more controversial appointees was ex-Confederate general James Longstreet. 

The Grant family left the White House for their new 28 room cottage on the seashore in Long Branch, NJ. Family friends including George Childs and George Pullman had provided them with what would become the "Summer White House" during the Grant presidency. This was a place for the family to gather together and avoid the summer heat and stress of Washington DC.

Grant family on Mt. Washington, NH

Black Friday panic in the Gold Room

In August the Grant family traveled the Northeast including a train ride up Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. During a time of rampant corruption in politics and business Grant was bound to eencounter it during his presidency. It did not take long before the first major conspiracy was discovered. When  Grant became aware of an attempt to corner the gold market, he acted decisively to stop the plans of the conspirators in what is known as "The Black Friday" Sept. 24, 1869. Although innocent of the scheme this would be the start of much scrutiny of him during his terms.

Commissioner Ely Parker

Upon taking office President Grant made a promise to overhaul the Indian Policy. He started by nominating his former military staff officer and Seneca Native American Ely Parker as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Grant's "Peace Policy" included appointing more trustworthy officials to evaluate and improve the poor system in place. Grant, knowing communication was paramount to progress, invited native leaders to the White House in June 1870 to listen to their concerns and do what he could.  

Sec. of State Hamilton Fish

American Commissioners to the Treaty of Washington

Foreign relations were on edge with Great Britain when Grant took office. He worked with his Secretary of State Hamilton Fish to settle the matter amicably. The Cuban independence uprising was his next test and Grant would emerge for the first time as a major proponent of international arbitration. He would go on in 1871 to help secure the Treaty of Washington with Great Britain which settled all disputes between the nations. His work on annexing Santo Domingo would not be a success however.

From shortly after the Civil War ended there had been secret resistance societies in the south bent on suppressing recently freed slaves through intimidation and violence. The Ku Klux Klan was the largest and most notorious of these domestic terrorist societies. Grant as president was committed to making sure everyone would be able to exercise their rights. In the spring of 1871 Grant helped push the Ku Klux Klan Act through Congress. This gave him the authority to use federal force to protect citizens civil rights and effectively curb the actions of the violent societies.

Second inauguration of U.S. Grant

In March of 1872 Grant made a conservation statement by creating the first National Park in the world, Yellowstone. After foreign relations, economic and civil rights accomplishments Grant was nominated for a second term in 1872. This time his running mate would be Radical Republican Henry Wilson and supporters included Frederick Douglas. Grant was re-elected and his second inaugural address in March 1873 re-iterated the importance of establishing civil rights and progressive inclusiveness. 

Julia, Nellie & Jesse with "Colonel" Dent

The Panic of 1873 at the New York Stock Exchange

Grant's second term began in a cloud of controversy that would dog him for the next four years. There was first the Credit Mobilier scandal involving many individuals close to the president. The industrial boom following the Civil War due largely to railroad expansion had overextended those involved in financing it. A financial collapse, known as the Panic of 1873, followed in September. To add to the difficuties during the year the Grant's lost both the elder Jesse Grant and "Colonel" Dent. Grant took a hard stand to preserve the economy vetoing the Congressional "inflation bill" to release more currency. 

Nellie & Algernon Sartoris

Frederick & Ida Grant

Nellie's White House wedding

The spring of 1874 brought a distraction to the cares as Grant's daughter Nellie was married in the White House. The President had his misgivings about the groom, but reluctantly agreed to the marriage to please Nellie. Later that year Grant's oldest Fred would marry as well and his new bride Ida would live in the White House while her husband was serving in the west.

Grant and his final cabinet

1875 brought more scandals including the Whiskey Ring. Grant did what he could to curb the corruption happening seemingly all around him within the government. Within his administration Orville Babcock and William Belknap faced corruption charges. He responded by removing certain members of the administration and appointing more trustworthy ones to try and deal with the scandals. Things were going from bad to worse, opposition to reconstruction policies in the south was growing

Individuals and places relating to

Grant's Presidency....

Schuyler Colfax

(Vice President during Grant's first term.)

Orville Babcock

(Grant's Secretary who had served on his Civil War staff)

William Belknap

(Secretary of War in Grant's cabinet.)

Roscoe Conkling

(Grant's friend, New York Senator and political supporter.)

Hamilton Fish

(Secretary of State in Grant's cabinet.)

George Boutwell

(Secretary of the treasury in Grant's cabinet.)

Charles Sumner

(Massachusetts Senator and political rival of Grant.)

George Childs

(Philadelphia publisher and friend of Grant.)

Henry Wilson

(Vice President during Grant's second term.)

Long Branch NJ Cottage

(The Grant family summer home.)