Ulysses S. Grant: Politician

By William B. Hesseltine | Go to book overview

Chapter VII Rumors of Reform

ON the whole, the nation hailed the election results with relieved feelings. Among both Democrats and Republicans, the outcome was considered a triumph for conservative principles. In finance, it was obvious that the "Ohio Idea" had been successfully scotched, and the country was safe for the bondholders. As for the South, Grant's election "finally seal(ed) the restoration of the Union" and plans for upbuilding the section were put under way.1 In Tennessee, "Parson" Brownlow, the Radical governor, assured his legislature that the election "means peace; it means that carpetbaggers are not to be molested . . . that capital, coming to us from abroad . . . is not to be spurned. . . ."2 Even such violent Southerners as Wade Hampton and General N. B. Forrest accepted the result "cordially and heartily."3 Throughout the comment ran the refrain of Grant's epigram--"Let us have peace."

But although the election cleared the atmosphere concerning finances and Reconstruction, it served only to raise political problems of considerable moment. During the four months preceding his inauguration, Grant occupied a unique position. Accepted by the Radicals with considerable reluctance, and only because of his supposed powers as a vote-getter, he was singularly free from political entanglements. While Northern bayonets in the South and Democratic bungling in the North carried him to victory, Grant had remained silent as to the policies he would follow and the persons he would consult. As a result, when the country took stock after the election, there was wide diversity of views as to what had been gained. Grant's belated pronouncement for the Radicals, and his refusal to participate in the campaign, had left Republican leaders in doubt concerning his real opinions. No word favoring the Radical program had escaped the secretive general, and the Democratic papers began to claim that the President-elect was a good Democrat. Moreover, they called upon him to select a Cabinet which

____________________
1
New York Tribune, November 5, 1868.
2
Knoxville Whig and Rebel Ventilalor, November 18, 1868.
3
New York Tribune, November 12, 1868; Wm. R. Moore, ( Memphis) to Washburne, November 17, 1868, Washburne MSS.

-132-

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Ulysses S. Grant: Politician
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Table of Contents ix
  • Illustrations xiii
  • Chapter I Forty Years of Failure 1
  • Chapter II Success 19
  • Chapter III the Strategy of Peace 48
  • Chapter IV an Ear to the Ground 70
  • Chapter V Joining the Radical Church 89
  • Chapter VI Grant Acts, Seymour Talks, Blair Blows 112
  • Chapter VII Rumors of Reform 132
  • Chapter VIII the First Clash 145
  • Chapter IX "Policy Enough for the Present" 157
  • Chapter X Midsummer Fantasy 169
  • Chapter XI the End of Reconstruction 180
  • Chapter XII Tarnished Halo 190
  • Chapter XIV Smoke Screen 220
  • Chapter XV Hydra Head 238
  • Chapter XVI Political Fagots 252
  • Chapter XVII the Election of 1872 269
  • Chapter XVIII Life in the White House 291
  • Xix Public Confidence 308
  • Chapter XX Inflation or Resumption? 327
  • Chapter XXI White Supremacy 341
  • Chapter XXII Politics of Depression 359
  • Chapter XXIII a Reformer in the Cabinet 375
  • Chapter XXIV Political Free-For-All 389
  • Chapter XXV a Disturbed Exit 405
  • Chapter XXVI a Political Resurrection 424
  • Chapter XXVII Peace 444
  • Bibliography 453
  • Index 461
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