Ulysses S. Grant: President, General, Alcoholic, And Protector Of Slaves

By Grace Taylor
The 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. (Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons)

Commanding General of the U.S. Army, Secretary of War, the 18th President of the United States of America—no matter what title he held, Ulysses S. Grant was a man to be reckoned with. He was not only steadfast in his beliefs but more than happy to back them up with brilliant and sometimes even brutal force. While he is best known for his major victories and ultimate win as the preeminent Union general during the Civil War, he also made major contributions to American culture and the fight for social and civil rights for African-Americans during his presidency (even if subsequent administrations undid a lot of his hard work).

Grant's Early Life

Hiram Ulysses Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio on April 27, 1822 to a family of tanners and farmers. He wasn't an especially gifted student, and he loathed working with leather alongside his father, but it turned out he was pretty good with horses. As he came from a long line of soldiers—his grandfather fought in the American Revolution and his great-grandfather in the French and Indian War—it seemed natural for him to enroll in the prestigious United States Military Academy, better known as West Point.