A vote for Grant

Earlier this year there was talk in Con­gress about replacing the picture of Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill with a picture of Ronald Reagan. What I knew about Grant was that he was from Illinois, that he was known as a hard drinker, that he was the general who won the Civil War, and that he was a mediocre president who was buried in upper Manhattan near Union Theological Seminary.

But—on my brother's recommendation—I read a biography of Grant, by Jean Edward Smith, and was chastened to realize that what I took to be conventional wisdom about Grant had little basis in fact.


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