Ulysses S. Grant
(born Hiram Ulysses Grant; April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885)
He was the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877) and military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction. Under Grant, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and effectively ended the war with the surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox. Grant, born in Ohio of English and Scottish ancestry, shunned his father's trade, but had exhibited equestrian ability as a youth. With his father's guidance, he began a lifelong military career after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1843. He fought in the Mexican–American War, resigned from the Army in 1854, and then struggled in business, while nurturing his growing family in St. Louis and Galena, Illinois.
Hiram Ulysses Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio on April 27, 1822. His father Jesse Root Grant (1794–1873) was a self-reliant tanner and businessman of Yankee and English ancestry, from an austere family. His mother Hannah Simpson Grant (1798–1883) was of Scottish ancestry. Both were natives of Pennsylvania. In the fall of 1823, the family moved to the village of Georgetown in Brown County, Ohio. Raised in a Methodist family devoid of religious pretentiousness, Grant prayed privately and was not an official member of the church. Unlike his younger siblings, Grant was neither disciplined, baptized, nor forced to attend church by his parents. Grant is said to have inherited a degree of introversion from his reserved, even "uncommonly detached" mother (she never took occasion to visit the White House during her son's presidency).
Grant assumed the duties expected of him as a young man at home, which primarily included maintaining the firewood supply; he thereby developed a noteworthy ability to work with, and control, horses in his charge, and used this in providing transportation as a vocation in his youth. At the age of 17, with the help of his father, Grant was nominated by Congressman Thomas L. Hamer's for a position at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York. Hamer mistakenly nominated him as "Ulysses S. Grant of Ohio." At West Point, he adopted this name with a middle initial only. His nickname became "Sam" among army colleagues at the academy, since the initials "U.S." stood for "Uncle Sam". The "S", according to Grant, did not "stand for anything", though Hamer had used it to abbreviate his mother's maiden name.
During Reconstruction, General Grant implemented Congressional plans to reoccupy the South and hold elections in 1867, including black voters, which gave Republicans control of the Southern states. Enormously popular in the North after the Union victory, Grant was elected to the presidency in 1868. Reelected in 1872, he became the first president to serve two full terms since Andrew Jackson. As president, he effected Reconstruction by signing and enforcing civil rights laws and fighting Ku Klux Klan violence. Grant won passage of the Fifteenth Amendment; giving constitutional protection for African American voting rights.
Historians until recently have given Grant's presidency the worst rankings; his reputation, however, has significantly improved because of greater appreciation for his enforcement of African American voting and citizenship rights during Reconstruction.