28 April marks the birth of Hiram Ulysses Grant, better known as Ulysses S Grant, Commanding General of US forces at the end of the Civil War.
Following Lincoln’s assassination, Andrew Johnson became President. Grant was dissatisfied with Johnson’s approach to postwar reconstruction, which did not include giving protection to the former slaves. Johnson even attempted to veto the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which passed only because of a two thirds majority in both houses overruling him.
Grant ran for President in 1868, after publicly breaking with Johnson. He became the youngest President yet elected. In his inaugural address he spoke out for the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, declaring that African Americans should have the right to vote. He spoke out against voter intimidation by the Ku Klux Klan, going as far as to suspend habeas corpus and impose martial law in order to prosecute the Klan and ensure that black citizens could vote.
Unfortunately, Grant also surrounded himself with Gilded Age businessmen, and often chose friends and family members for appointed office. This led to his administration being perpetually troubled by corruption and scandal.