Four more years?
Grant. He was the best man to know what Lincoln would have recommended for this stage of reconstruction.
The Liberals had some decent proposals, but their apostasy began the break-up of the pro-Reconstruction movement.
In spite of hindsight telling me how bad Grant’s second term went and admiration for Greeley, I have to stick with the incumbent here.
Of course Greeley would not have been alive on inauguration day.
Hindsight isn’t always that good, and sometimes the memories merely record the near hysterical political critics of the time.
I think you’d enjoy “The Era of Good Stealings” by Mark Wahlgren Summers. There is much about the era that we don’t take into account now that should be.
I never would vote for Greeley. He was basket case, you never what he would support or oppose. He makes Andrew Sullivan look like a paragon of consistency.
Sure, Grant was not even close to being a great President, but he’s more attractive than anything else on the menu here. I’m not expecting too many write-ins for Victoria Woodhull, but what do I know? What an awful and uninspiring election this was; it wouldn’t surprise me if Greeley’s death was the only thing that made it memorable.
Probably Grant’s biggest fault was that he was too trusting of others. Hence the scandals that plagued his administration. However, if we set aside the scandals, who of his contemporaries would have done a better job in general?
And who would have done a better job at the impossible task of advocating for the former Confederates, pushing Civil Rights and protection for African Americans (establishing the Department of Justice, etc), establishing the 8-hour work day for federal employees, keeping us out of war with Britain (re: the Alabama claims), and starting us on the path to preserving our great natural heritage, by founding the world’s first national park (Yellowstone).
What policies would have been better, especially when it came to maintaining the balance between encouraging former Confederates to get back on their feet, while at the same time trying to help the Freedmen solidify their rights as citizens?
Yes, I agree completely. Grant was personally very honest; as you said, his weakness was his poor judgement of others’ character while he was in office. I should have done a better job of explaining myself in the above post–my comment could easily be taken to mean that I’m down on Grant’s whole Presidency.
Despite the scandals for which Grant was blamed, he was the best candidate available in ’68 and ’72–his policies and achievements you mentioned above were what decided my vote. The candidates who opposed him were a big factor, too, of course.
I’m not convinced there was ever a real threat of war with Britain, though. I doubt the British would have willingly jeopardized their access to American markets, not to mention their deposits and securities in American banks. Regardless, the Grant administration did succeed in getting the British to cough up a nice check for the damages done by the commerce raiders they built for the Confederates.
Greely is a very sad case. He was a former icon who was spiraling downhill. I wonder if he had dementia or some similar problem?
Four more years!
When do you plan to publish your GRANT BIOGRAPHY- PART TWO ? IM SURE MANY ARE AWAITING THIS. I HAVE THREE OF YOUR BOOKS ON GRANT AND RECONSTRUCTION AND THEY ARE WONDERFUL READING. THANKS MR. SIMPSON, JAMES
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