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Video:Profile of Ulysses S. Grant

with Donna Sinatra

Ulysses S. Grant lived one of the most celebrated lives in American history. This About.com video will give you a brief overview of the life and career of Ulysses S. Grant.See Transcript

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Transcript:Profile of Ulysses S. Grant

Hi, I'm Donna with About.com and I'm going to profile Ulysses S. Grant. 

Grant's Early Life

Born in Ohio in April of 1822, his father and mother were of English and Scottish ancestry and natives of Pennsylvania. The family moved to Ohio the year after his birth.

He was nominated for a position at the U.S. military academy at West Point when he was seventeen. He graduated from West Point in 1843. After 4 years of engagement during the Mexican-American War, he married Julia Boggs-Dent, the daughter of a Missouri plantation and slave owner. They had four children together.

In fact, he was bitterly opposed to the Mexican-American War. In his opinion, the Civil War was punishment for the U.S. aggression in Mexico.

Grant Moves West

Eventually, Grant was reassigned to the Pacific Northwest, where he came in contact with American Indian tribes. He felt these Native Americans were harmless and would stay peaceful as long they were not put upon by the whites. 

In an effort to supplement his military salary, Grant entered into several business ventures out west, all of which failed. These failures, and separation from his family, are why, it is believed, he turned to drinking excessively. 

Success in the Civil War

After years out of the military, when Confederate troops attacked Fort Sumter in 1861, which began the civil war, Grant was promoted to colonel. Grant was assigned with his volunteers to take Fort Donelson. Grant was able to rally his troops, surround the fort, and command a surrender. His famous terms were repeated across the North: "No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender." Soon he became known as "Unconditional Surrender" Grant.

With this success, President Lincoln promoted Grant to major-general. By 1865, the Union forces were able to capture Petersburg and Richmond. The Confederate army was split into two and General Lee reluctantly surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.

Accomplishments as President

4 days later, Lincoln was assinated and Andrew Johnson assumed the Presidency. Grant did not agree with Johnson on many issues and won the Presidency in 1868. He passed the 15th Amedment, ensuring voting rights for African-Americans, and worked for peace with the Indian tribes. His campaign slogan was "Let's us have peace." He also signed the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which further ensured African-American rights.

Grant's Death

He was barely able to finish his memoirs before his death at 63 from throat cancer. His personal memoirs were published by Mark Twain and are highly reguarded by military historians and literary critics. He was beloved in his own time and millions attended his New York funeral procession and the dedication of his Tomb in Manhattan. 

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