Grants White House years

The Union's dramatic victory made Grant one of the great heroes of the North. After the war, he joined the Republican political party. In 1868, he was elected president of the United States, defeating Democratic nominee Horatio Seymour (1810-1886) by a slim margin. In 1872, he easily defeated Horace Greeley (1811-1872; see entry). Grant entered the White House hoping to help America heal the many deep wounds left by the Civil War. But he struggled with his presidential duties, and his administration became known for scandal and mismanagement of the national economy. "The qualities that served U.S. Grant so well in war—resolution, independence, aversion to [dislike of] politics—deserted him in peacetime," commented Geoffrey C. Ward in The Civil War. "He entered the White House pledged to peace, honesty, and civil rights [for blacks]. But corruption tainted [damaged] his two terms—though it did not touch him personally—and the North was already weary of worrying about the status of southern blacks."

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