by Frank Scaturro of the Grant Monument Association
Grant as General-in-Chief After
the Civil War, 1865-1869
A. Reconstruction Period
1. Andrew Johnson became president upon Lincoln's assassination and faced
the issue of restoring the nation.
A central question involved the status of former
slaves. Johnson's opposition to civil rights measures to advance the rights of former
slaves led to a major conflict with Radical Republicans in Congress who
favored full political equaltiy regardless of race.
2. Grant was commissioned the first full (four-star) general in American
history on July 25, 1866.
3. Conflict with Radicals in Congress led to passage of the Tenure of
Office Act, which required Seante approval for the removal of a cabinet
Convinced that the act, which clearly
undermined his authority, was unconstitutional, Johnson defied the law by
removing Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton without Senate approval.
Johnson appointed Grant Secretary of War ad
interim on August 12th, 1867.
Troubled by Johnson's attempts to create the
impression that he supported his action, Grant served until 1868, but
declined to become a part of Johnson's further plans that year.
Johnson was impeached, escaping removal by one
B. Nomination of Grant and His Election, 1868.
1. Grant was nominated as the Republican candidate for president on May
He was clearly the most popular figure in the
Although he had an aversion to politics, Grant
became concerned that Johnson's Reconstruction policies were detrimental
to the country and came to support the Radical platform
He declared "Let us have peace,"
of acceptance upon his nomination for the presidency. This phrase was
later inscribed on his tomb.
2. He was elected to his first term as president, defeating Governor
Horatio Seymour of New York, on November 3, 1868.