Ulysses S. Grant and The Gilded Age

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The Gilded Age, marked by rapid economic and industrial advances, as well as racial tension and corruption, is one of the most noteworthy periods in American History. At the center of this movement was general-turned-president, Ulysses S. Grant. While history cannot help but respect Grant's morals and ethics in dealing with highly sensitive issues, the corruption that flourished during his terms, and even in his own administration, often casts a more memorable shadow over the era.


Mark Twain once wrote of The Gilded Age, "Some men worship rank, some worship heroes, some worship power, some worship God, and over these ideals they dispute and cannot unite-but they all worship money."1 Twain, coincidentally was a close friend of Ulysses S. Grant; and any discussion of The Gilded Age would be remiss if it did not begin with Grant.
Fresh off landmark victories in the Civil War, Grant was quite possibly the most popular man in America. He was a landslide winner for the Republican Party without even making a single stumping speech. Grant was noted for his steadfast determination to meet resistance and pound away until he emerged victorious. Abraham Lincoln, when asked why he liked Grant responded, simply, "He fights."
"The qualities that Grant brought to the Union armies did not transfer so easily to the presidency."2 Indeed, following the close of the Civil War, the nation was expanding economically and geographically at a terrific rate. The mentality of "pounding away" was not one best suited to this type of growth. ...
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