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The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant (American Presidency Series)

af Charles W. Calhoun

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301806,590 (3.5)Ingen
"This is the 36th volume in the American Presidency Series; it covers the two-term (1868-1877) controversial presidency of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885). While several biographies of Grant have appeared in recent years, there has been no scholarly work on Grant's presidency since the 1930s. Charles Calhoun is an eminent authority on the history of the United States in the late nineteenth century, and uses his vast knowledge here, along with extensive use of original sources, to examine Grant's presidency in a fresh light"-- "As controversial in politics as he was in the military, Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) was an embattled president, enormously popular with the American people, yet the target of unrelenting censure by political enemies. For the first time in almost a century, this book by the distinguished historian Charles W. Calhoun examines Grant's administration in depth, offering a fresh look at the 18th president's policies and actions during his two terms in office (1869-1877). Most biographers focus on Grant's military career, giving less attention to the significant and complex questions that marked his presidential terms. These concerns, the issues of politics and governance, are at the core of this book. As a political historian with a vast knowledge of nineteenth-century America and an extensive array of original sources at his command, Calhoun approaches Grant's presidency not as an incongruous or inconsequential sequel to his military career but instead as the polestar of American public life during a crucial decade in the nation's political development. He explores Grant's leadership style and traces his contributions to the office of president, including creating a White House staff, employing modern technology to promote the mobility of the presidency, and developing strong ties with congressional leaders to enhance executive influence over legislation. The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant provides a detailed discussion of the administration's endeavors in a variety of areas--Reconstruction and civil rights, economic policy, the Peace Policy for Native Americans, foreign policy, and civil service reform. It also offers a straightforward examination of the scandals associated with the period, highlighting the "embattled" nature of Grant's presidency and the deep antagonism that marked his relations with key critics such as Charles Sumner, Henry Adams, and Benjamin Bristow. In sum, this book is a long overdue re-evaluation of a pivotal presidency in America's political history"--… (mere)
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If you want to know more about the presidency of Civl War general Ulysses Grant, then this is your go-to book! Calhoun is one of the best historians working on Gilded Age politics and he does not disappoint with this latest contribution to the University Kansas Press American Presidency series. As a side/personal story, I was at the Madison Building of the Library of Congress in July 2011 researching my William Temple Hornaday biography (The Most Defiant Devil) while Calhoun was at the table in front of me going through the Elihu Washburne papers. I've always regretted not introducing myself to him. Back to Grant, this book is an example of the recent school of historians who are painting a much more favorable view of the eighteenth president of the United States than previous generations of historians had done. For starters, Calhoun -- and this is true of the this new school -- has a deeper appreciation of Grant's attempts to use federal power to advance the cause of black civil rights in the Reconstruction era South. Second, Calhoun depicts Grant as an engaged leader who understood complex issues, initiated new policies, and lobbied members of Congress for his preferred legislation. Calhoun's treatment of civil service reform intrigued me because of my previous work on Chester Arthur (see Chester Alan Arthur: The Life of a Gilded Age Politician and President) whom Grant appointed to the position of collector of the Port of New York. Traditionally, historians have given Grant little credit for measures he introduced to reform and regulate the civil service. Calhoun, in contrast, sees Grant as genuinely interested in reform who went as far as he was comfortable to do through executive action, but faulted Congress for not doing their part. Grant's attitude might be due to the inordinate time it took him to fill offices. Calhoun also takes Grant's side in seeing the public and vocal civil service reformers of the day as "humbugs" -- to use Grant's own term for them -- who were disappointed by their failure to secure positions for themselves and/or their friends. Civil service reform, of course, is just one of a many topics covered in this penetrating and thorough account of Grant's administration. ( )
  gregdehler | Aug 5, 2019 |
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"This is the 36th volume in the American Presidency Series; it covers the two-term (1868-1877) controversial presidency of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885). While several biographies of Grant have appeared in recent years, there has been no scholarly work on Grant's presidency since the 1930s. Charles Calhoun is an eminent authority on the history of the United States in the late nineteenth century, and uses his vast knowledge here, along with extensive use of original sources, to examine Grant's presidency in a fresh light"-- "As controversial in politics as he was in the military, Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) was an embattled president, enormously popular with the American people, yet the target of unrelenting censure by political enemies. For the first time in almost a century, this book by the distinguished historian Charles W. Calhoun examines Grant's administration in depth, offering a fresh look at the 18th president's policies and actions during his two terms in office (1869-1877). Most biographers focus on Grant's military career, giving less attention to the significant and complex questions that marked his presidential terms. These concerns, the issues of politics and governance, are at the core of this book. As a political historian with a vast knowledge of nineteenth-century America and an extensive array of original sources at his command, Calhoun approaches Grant's presidency not as an incongruous or inconsequential sequel to his military career but instead as the polestar of American public life during a crucial decade in the nation's political development. He explores Grant's leadership style and traces his contributions to the office of president, including creating a White House staff, employing modern technology to promote the mobility of the presidency, and developing strong ties with congressional leaders to enhance executive influence over legislation. The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant provides a detailed discussion of the administration's endeavors in a variety of areas--Reconstruction and civil rights, economic policy, the Peace Policy for Native Americans, foreign policy, and civil service reform. It also offers a straightforward examination of the scandals associated with the period, highlighting the "embattled" nature of Grant's presidency and the deep antagonism that marked his relations with key critics such as Charles Sumner, Henry Adams, and Benjamin Bristow. In sum, this book is a long overdue re-evaluation of a pivotal presidency in America's political history"--

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