Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library
Established in 2012, this presidential library offers exhibits and records related to the life and career of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States, as well as the history of his years in office. Similar to other Presidential libraries, the organization is operated through private support and the National Archives. The Library includes artifacts, research collections, and personal effects that were owned by Grant and members of his family. This presidential library was opened on the 50th anniversary of the funding of the Ulysses S. Grant Association and receives administrative support from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. In addition to private donors, the library has received federal support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and other entities.
Backstory and Context
Ulysses Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio on April 27, 1822, the first of six surviving children born to Jesse and Hannah Grant. The future president's father was a tanner and merchant. Grant may be best-known for his leadership as an officer in the Civil War, something that he held in common with previous generations as his grandfather served during the American Revolution in the Battle of Bunker Hill and his great-grandfather served in the French and Indian War.
After the Civil War ended, Grant served as Andrew Johnson’s Secretary of War. In the presidential election of 1868, Grant was nominated for the presidency by the Republican Party with running mate Schuyler Colfax, the current Speaker of the House. His opponent in the general election was Democratic Governor Horaito Seymour from New York along with his running mate Senator Francis Blair Jr. of Missouri. Grant and Colfax won the election with 214 electoral votes to Seymour/Blair Jr.‘s count of 80.
During Grant’s presidency, he was a supporter of citizenship rights for African Americans. The president joined Republican stalwarts in supporting the right of African Americans to serve in public office and on juries in Washington D.C. In 1870, Grant helped create the U.S. Justice Department as a way forward to enforcing Reconstruction. With the passing of the Enforcement Acts, Grant also worked to end the influence of the Ku Klux Klan. However, as the nation gradually ended their support of Reconstruction, the violence and fraud perpetrated by the Klan were no longer required for wealthy white landowners to regain their control of political and economic life in the southern United States.
Grant’s presidency faced opposition for the failure of Grant's cabinet members. In addition to several corruption scandals involving high-ranking officials, Grant faced growing opposition among some members of the Republican Party who hoped to "move past" Reconstruction and its commitment to citizenship rights for formerly enslaved persons. During his Presidency, Grant signed and supported the Civil Rights Act of 1875, but neither the President nor the Justice Department provided resources needed for enforcement of the law, which was soon declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court for infringing on the rights of white business owners.
Grant served as President from 1869 to 1877 and died in 1885 from cancer. Grant's tomb in Riverside Park is the largest mausoleum in the United States. In addition to that memorial, this presidential library preserves the memory of the life of Grant with exhibits and library collections, including the personal papers of Ulysses S. Grant.
“A World-Class Collection-An Engaging Experience,” Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library. Accessed June 3rd 2021. http://www.usgrantlibrary.org/.
“Grant Presidential Library,” Mississippi State University. Accessed June 3rd 2021. https://www.msstate.edu/videos/2018/12/grant-presidential-library