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Hiram Ulysses Grant was born near Pleasant Point, Ohio, on April 27, 1822. His parents were Hannah Simpson and Jesse Grant. Jesse Grant was the owner of a tannery. He was shy boy while growing up. At the age of one year he was taken to Georgetown where he was educated at local and boarding schools. He graduated 21st in a class of 39, from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1843 where he had enrolled under the name of Ulysses Simpson Grant. He was assigned to Jefferson Barracks, MO, where he met Julia Dent. They married after the Mexican War in 1848.
Grant served in the Mexican War under the name of Gen. Zachary Taylor and Gen. Winfield Scott. In 1854 while stationed at Fort Humboldt, California, Grant resigned his commission because of loneliness and drinking problems. He spent the following years in unsuccessful farming and business ventures in Missouri. He moved to Galena, Illinois, in 1860 where he worked in his father’s leather shop.
Grant was appointed colonel and soon afterward brigadier general of the Illinois volunteers at the outbreak of the Civil War. Grant wanted to fight for the Union. He was an officer of dogged determination and won a series of brilliant victories. On one occasion, the commander of a Confederate fort asked on what terms Grant would accept his surrender. "No terms," he replied, "except an unconditional and immediate surrender." From then on he was known as "Unconditional Surrender Grant" since his initials were U.S. On March 8, 1864, President Lincoln made him commander of all the Union forces. Grant helped to bring the war to an end in a little over a year.
In 1868 Grant was elected Republican president of the United States. Although Grant was a wonderful soldier, he made a poor president. He was honest, but some of those he appointed to high office were not. They caused financial difficulties for the government and the country. He was not blamed for this and was reelected in 1872.
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