Ulysses S. Grant: Politician

By William B. Hesseltine | Go to book overview
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Chapter XXVII Peace

FROM the time that the loyal 306 went down in defeat at Chicago, Grant's political career was closed. When an assassin, proclaiming himself a Stalwart, murdered Garfield, the bullet pierced the heart of the Grant and Conkling wing of the Republican Party. With Arthur, whom he had once appointed to the most lucrative job under the government, Grant's relations were strained. The President ignored the general's recommendations and followed the policy of conciliating the discordant factions while Grant looked on in uncomprehending disgust. "He seems more afraid of his enemies," said the general, ". . . than guided either by his judgment, personal feelings, or friendly influences." The remark throws considerable light on Grant's own Presidency.1

Removed from politics, Grant turned his attention to a search for employment. With all of his children married and well established in life,2 Grant could look forward to a pleasant old age in the companionship of his devoted Julia, and, so long as he refrained from politics, the admiration and the devotion of the nation. However, as he wrote Badeau, "one thing ts certain; I must do something to supplement my income, or continue to live in Galena or on a farm. I have not got the means to live in a city."3 With no desire to spend his days in Galena, the general kept an eye open for business opportunities and showed, in his travels, a constant interest in factories, banks, and the stock market.4

Opportunities for employment were supplied by corporations which hoped to profit from the use of Grant's name. A gold mining company in New Mexico elected him its president;5 and he was offered the presidency of the "New York World's Fair Commission."6 But these enterprises were speculative and promised little emolument. Instead, he accepted the presidency of a Mexican railroad company, one of Jay

Badeau, Grant in Peace, 334-339.
Fred was in the army, attached to Sherman's staff. Both Jesse and "Buck" married during the campaign of 1880.
Badeau, Grant in Peace, 350.
Cf. N. Y. Tribune, Dec. 20, 1879.
Ibid., July 25, 1880.
New York Tribune, January 7, 1880.


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