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June 27, 2019

Senator Charles Sumner is one of the good guys of history.  Before the Civil War he was a determined abolitionist who spoke boldly against slavery.  Although he never joined the Union Army, he did suffer physical injury at the hands of Democrat Congressman Preston Brooks.  Unfortunately, his ego got the best of him during the post war years.  He appointed himself to run foreign policy, undercutting the President and Secretary of State.  He also opposed some of Grant’s efforts to destroy the Ku Klux Klan because he didn’t care for the other Senators who were supporting Grant.

Senator Carl Schurz is one of the good guys of history.  In his youth he fought for democracy against the Prussian army, barely escaping execution.  He was one of the Union generals at Gettysburg.  Unfortunately, his idealism became so focused on civil service reform that he could not see the need to vigorously support Grant’s efforts to destroy the Klan.  Besides, Senators Chandler, Conkling, and Morton – men who supported Grant’s anti-Klan policy – were spoilsmen who strongly opposed civil service reform.

President Ulysses Grant is one of the good guys of history.  During the Civil War he demonstrated what it means to persist.  When victorious, he pressed his advantage.  When defeated or when achieving a pyrrhic victory, he didn’t malinger.  He carried these same qualities into the Presidency.  Unfortunately, many of his political lieutenants took advantage of his good nature.

Also, most unfortunately, lazy historians have perpetuated a one-sided narrative that emphasizes the corruption of these lieutenants and fails to adequately celebrate President Grant’s outstanding record on civil rights.



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