President of the Day

Handy Presidents 2e
ISBN: 9781578593170

Which president had his name changed by a mistaken recommendation?

  • He unsuccessfully tried his hand at farming mid-career.
  • He travelled the world after his tenure as president.
  • He was just an average student at West Point.
  • His cabinet officials made his presidency notorious for scandals.

Ulysses S. Grant

What was Grant's birth name?

Grant's name at birth was Hiram Ulysses Grant, honoring his maternal grandfather and the Greek mythological hero. Years later, Congressman Thomas Lyon Hamer recommended Grant for admission to the United States Military Academy. However, Hamer mistakenly referred to the seventeen-year-old Hiram Ulysses Grant as "Ulysses Simpson Grant." Grant used the name for the rest of his life.

What did Grant do after leaving the army?

Grant tried his hand at farming and real estate to little success. He worked farmland in White Haven, Missouri, that had been given to Ulysses and Julia by her parents as a wedding present. He built a house on his land that he named "Hardscrabble." He also sold lumber and worked on land owned by his father-in-law, Colonel Dent.

After farming did not work out economically, Grant worked at one of his father's leather-good stores in Galena, Illinois, in May 1860. The store was managed by his brothers Simpson and Orvil.

What did Grant do for the first few years after leaving the presidency?

Grant and his wife, Julia, traveled the world for more than two years. They went to Europe, the Middle East, China, Japan, India, and Russia. He also traveled to Mexico and Cuba. He was hailed as a great war hero and enjoyed enormous prestige abroad.

How did Grant fare at West Point?

Grant was an average student at West Point, though he did show some proclivity for mathematics. He also showed excellent aptitude as a horseman. He graduated twenty-first out of a class of thirty-nine cadets in 1843. His last-year roommate was Frederick T. Dent, the brother of his future wife, Julia.

What were some of the other scandals rocked the Grant administration?

In 1875, Secretary of the Treasury Benjamin Bristow exposed the Whiskey Ring Scandal, which involved officials and businessmen supposedly pocketing millions of dollars in liquor taxes. Many officials allegedly bribed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents and others, including IRS supervisor John McDonald and Grant's private secretary Orville E. Babcock.

The Indian Trading Scandal also rocked the Grant administration, and impeachment charges were brought against Secretary of War William W. Belknap for allegedly accepting a bribe over an Indian trading post position. He became the first member of a presidential cabinet to be impeached. Although he resigned immediately, the House impeached him. The Senate acquitted him because he had already resigned.

The Delano Affair also rocked the Grant administration. Secretary of the Interior Columbus Delano allegedly took bribes for fraudulent land grants. He resigned from office in October 1875.

From The Handy Presidents Answer Book, Second Edition by David L. Hudson, Jr., JD., (c) Visible Ink Press(R) More than 1,600 things you never knew about our nation's leaders

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