Ulysses S. Grant: Politician

By William B. Hesseltine | Go to book overview
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Chapter XVII The Election of 1872

IN JANUARY, 1872, the Republican National Committee met in Washington and decided to hold the National Convention at Philadelphia on June 5. In the call, the Committee reminded the people that all the promises of the 1868 campaign had been fulfilled. The States of the South had been restored, the laws had been enforced, and equal suffrage guaranteed to all citizens. A liberal policy had been adopted toward the rebels, and foreign complications had been solved.1

Coincident with this call, fresh expressions of loyalty appeared in the Republican press. "There has never been a President in the White House who has been more uniformly fair to all races and classes of men," declared the National Republican,2 while the New York Times took up the cry for Grant by asking if the Republicans were ready to trust the Democrats with power?3 Boston and Philadelphia papers joined in with declarations that Grant was honest, true to the party, a friend of the Negro, and restorer of industry and peace in the South. Throughout the nation, said one paper, "there is work and pay for the laborer, and the capitalist has confidence."4 Though blunders had been made, admitted the obsequious journals, they had been promptly adjusted, and Grant's policy had been "eminently judicious and patriotic. The Republican Party demands his renomination because he has been its truest and best servant and minister."5

In the midst of this inspired demand for Grant the President's opponents continued to insist that he was not popular with the country. The enthusiasm, said the Indianapolis Journal, was limited to officeholders who failed to see the depth of public resentment.6 Garfield thought that Grant was "the second choice of most of our people, and they are not agreed on a first."7Whitelaw Reid, who admitted an "instinctive dislike of men of General Grant's calibre

____________________
1
New York Tribune, January 12, 1872.
2
National Republican, January 19, 1872.
3
New York Times, January 20, 1872.
4
Philadelphia City Item and Boston Journal, quoted in National Republican, February 14, 17, 1872.
5
National Republican, February 24, 1872.
6
Quoted in New York Tribune, January 16, 1872.
7
Garfield to R. C. Schenck, March 14, 1872, Garfield MSS.

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