He came to the Presidency as a military hero, and left it as one of the most scandal-ridden Presidents in American history. His name was Ulysses Grant.
Ulysses Grant, commander of the Union forces at the end of the Civil War, was considered one of the most brilliant military strategists of his day. When Andrew Johnson’s presidential term was completed, the popular Grant was a logical choice for the Presidency.
Ulysses Grant – a Great Military Strategist, Poor Commander-in-Chief
As President, Grant ran the government much as he had run the Army, including bringing a large part of his Army staff to the White House. Although Grant was scrupulously honest, he was a naïve politician who was used by savvy schemers to further their own goals. His administration was ridden with corruption, including the attempt by Jay Gould and James Fisk to corner the gold market.
Grant’s two terms were exasperating ones, with lingering problems from Reconstruction and the growing threat of a full-scale Indian war in the West. Grant had further problems with a Civil War hero named George Custer, who claimed that Grant’s brother, Orvil, was involved in dishonest schemes to cheat Indians living on the reservations.
After his terms as President, Grant became a partner in a financial firm, which went bankrupt. When he learned he had cancer of the throat, he began writing his memoirs as a way of paying off his debts and providing for his family. Soon after completing his book, which earned nearly $450,000., Grant died on June 23, 1885.