Ulysses S. Grant's Role In The Civil Rights Movement

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Hadawi 1 Grant Research Paper Jennifer Hadawi Hagberg/Bretthauer English/History 8.1 5/20/16 Grant’s Legacy The foundation of America’s equal rights movement came from an unlikely source: an unsuccessful Republican president. Grant’s military roots played a major role in his success as a leader. Although he was not the first man to push for civil rights, he was the first president to revolutionize and popularize the idea. Grant’s role in the movement for equality is unprecedented. Despite his military background and willingness to fight for others, Ulysses S. Grant was not considered the best president, but he was a natural born leader and used his power to positively affect the lives of others. Ulysses S. Grant’s military background prepared…show more content…
Grant’s greatest impact as president was most evident when he used his power as president to pass laws to improve the lives of American People. Grant started his presidency with Schuyler Colfax as VP on March 4, 1869 by both popular and electoral vote. The people, exhausted after the Civil War, wanted a trustworthy leader, not a politician who would avoid more conflict. Grant embodied this idea in his campaign slogan, “Let Us Have Peace.” After slavery was abolished, segregation was prominent throughout the states. Although African Americans were free, they were treated as less than a white U.S Citizen. Up until 1870, black people were unable to vote. Ulysses S. Grant despised these injustices and made it his presidential goal to fight for civil rights. On February 3, the 15th Amendment was passed giving African Americans the right to vote. This empowered a new collective of people to voice their opinions. Their opinions impacted elections and decisions from 1870 up until today. Without Grant’s amendment, our current President Barack Obama wouldn’t have been able to make it into office. To further his fight for equality, Grant signed the Civil Rights Act of 1875. This Act promised, “full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities…show more content…
Because he was an inexperienced politician, he didn’t know how to handle the crash. Although he wasn’t directly involved in the scandal, his reputation suffered. Even today, people remember him as a bad politician because of the Gold Market Scandal. Next, Grant’s secretary Orville E. Babcock used Grant’s power to help people evade taxes in the Whiskey Ring Scandal. After the Prohibition, alcohol manufacturers were heavily taxed. Manufacturers cheated the government by reporting fewer sales and keeping the extra tax money. But when Grant found out about the scandal he said, “ Let no guilty man escape!” (Alter 37). After Babcock was charged, Grant was willing to acquit Babcock’s case because they had fought together in the Civil War. By contradicting himself and favoring his friends, he promoted corruption in his cabinet. The people saw him favoring Babcock and they lost their trust in him. An untrustworthy man can never be remembered as a great leader (Alter; Schuman). Ulysses S. Grant was not a great president, but his military knowledge and love for others allowed him to be a leader who left a positive imprint on others. Grant shaped America’s foundation through revolutionary ideas and his actions as eighteenth president. His lasting legacy is testament to these facts; however, Grant’s story should be a cautionary one. A president’s reputation is a direct reflection of the people he surrounds himself with and a tarnished reputation overshadows
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