History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 6

By James Ford Rhodes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXVI

AMID the general acclamations of the people on March 4, 1869 General Grant was inaugurated President. No President since Washington, except Monroe and Lincoln at their second inaugurations, went into office so favourably regarded by men of all parties. As I have previously stated, he could have had the Democratic nomination had he not decided to cast his lot with the Republicans; and although the contest had been a lively one, Democratic zeal had in hardly any degree been directed against Grant but rather against Republican policy. Thus Democrats regarded him as their President as well as that of the party which chose him. His record as a general had won the admiration, and his simple and honest nature the affections, of the educated and highly placed as well as of the plain people. In the ceremony of inauguration there was but one jarring note. Grant felt so bitterly towards Johnson, because of their controversy of the year before, that he departed from the usual custom and declined to drive with him in the same carriage from the White House to the Capitol.1

His brief inaugural address was characteristic. "The responsibilities of the position I feel," he said, "but accept them without fear. The office has come to me unsought; I commence its duties untrammelled." He had a great opportunity; only Washington's and Lincoln's were greater. In his appointments for the cabinet he showed his complete independence, choosing his ministers without the usual consultations with

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1
Blaine,vol. ii. p. 423; New York Tribune, March 5.

-347-

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