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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #135)

Sun Oct 14, 2018, 12:43 PM

136. You're probably referring to the Chernow book. There are several other major biographies that...

...have reassessed Grant's Presidency.

Most of them don't go as far as I do, since I regard him as the second most important and second greatest President of the 19th century.

I personally believe that if Lincoln had not been assassinated, the common assessment of him as the greatest President of the United States ever would not be nearly as consistent as it is.

Lincoln would have had to address the same issues that Grant did, a bitter and fragile peace, and actually until he was killed, he did not actually have the same contemporary prestige that Grant had. Grant was a sphinx; Lincoln wasn't, at least to their contemporaries.

In saying this, I am not maligning Lincoln; I actually believe that he deserves the common ranking as #1, but I insist that Grant - who saw himself as working to fulfill Lincoln's legacy and died in view of Lincoln's portrait - is nearly an equivalent.

The "intermediate" ranking to which Grant has now risen in historian polls still disgusts me. No one appreciates the magnitude of the task, just as few people appreciate the magnitude of his Overland military campaign, which finalized a horrid war.

Grant was simply the reification of what made America a great nation, and in the late 1870's - after his Presidency - everyone on the planet pretty much knew it, as is evidenced by the World Tour he took.

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LineLineLineLineNew Reply You're probably referring to the Chernow book. There are several other major biographies that...
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