Quotes by President Ulysses S. Grant
“Enfrancishment and equal rights should accompany emancipation”.
“Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace”.
“The great bulk of the legal voters of the South were men who owned no slaves; their homes were generally in the hills and poor country; their facilities for educating their children, even up to the point of reading and writing, were very limited; their interest in the contest was meagre — what there was, if they had been capable of seeing it, was with the North, they too needed emancipation”.
Today marks the bicentennial of the birth of Ulysses S. Grant. This year also marks the bicentennial of the birth of Harriet Tubman. Both were instrumental to the Civil War. It took over Reconstruction. President Johnson had left the effort in disarray. Grant’s task was to reunite the country while protecting freed people in the aftermath of slavery which would eventually include suffrage in the 15th amendment.
Congress had passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 on April 9th, created the Freedmen’s Bureau that same year and then the Reconstruction Act of 1867. You would think nothing more was needed. But Southern States were able to inflict codes onto their Black population and Grant saw that more needed to be done.
Violence was running rampant and threatened the peace. Grant created the Department of Justice during his presidency and pushed the passage of the 15th amendment that gave Black men the right tot vote. Grant even contemplated the annexation of Haiti and discussed the possibility with Frederick Douglass.
Though his presidency was scarred with a financial crisis and scandal, Grant was determined that all Americans enjoy life, liberty and happiness. We all know that it took another 100 years to realize Civil Rights for African Americans but it still hinges on our ability to preserve human rights for everyone. That’s real.