Biography of Ulysses Grant – the 18th President of America

December 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

Ulysses Grant was born on April 27, 1822, in Point Pleasant, Ohio. He was the first of six children born to religious and hard-working parents, Jesse and Hannah Grant. His father was a tanner who took animal hides and processed them into leather. He made a good living, but the work conditions were horrible—skinned and raw animal carcasses everywhere, their hides tossed into kettles of stinging, stinking chemicals. Although Grant occasionally worked in the tannery as a child, he hated the work and swore to his father that once he was an adult, he would never do it again.

Ulysses was a small, sensitive, quiet youth. The simple local schools bored him, and other children mistook his quietness for stupidity, nicknaming him “Useless.” The boy, however, had an incredible knack in what was a critical skill in that time and place – horsemanship. On the family farm, his father often gave him the responsibility of taking care of the horses and the other farm animals, and he was renowned in the area for managing unruly horses. Grant’s father supported his son’s ambitious nature to go beyond the limited life of a tanner.

The family had little money for college, but the United States Military Academy at West Point, then as now, offered a deal: a superior free education in return for Army service after graduating. Without telling Ulysses, Jesse Grant applied for an appointment to the Academy for his son, who was accepted. Told of his acceptance, the shy Ulysses did not want to go. His father stated that he thought his son would go, and Ulysses “thought so too, if he did.” With his father’s encouragement, Grant decided to go to West Point to fulfill his own desire to travel and take advantage of the education being offered to him. When his congressman applied for Grant’s appointment to West Point, he incorrectly wrote the name as Ulysses Simpson (his mother’s family name) Grant instead of Hiram Ulysses Grant. Although Ulysses tried to correct the mistake when he arrived at West Point, it was too late, and thereafter he signed his name as Ulysses S. Grant. West Point was difficult for the humble youth from the Midwest. He was good at math and drawing, but his prior education was limited, leaving him an otherwise unexceptional student. His skill with horses, however, was unmatched, and he amazed everyone with his riding abilities. He seemed sure to win a coveted spot in the Army’s cavalry, its horse-soldier elite, but he was assigned to the infantry after graduating twenty-first in a class of thirty-nine.

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