By Mathew Brady Studio, ca. 1860-1865. Courtesy of National Archives
Eighteenth President, 1869-1877
Like Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant was elected to the presidency
in honor of his heroic deeds on the battlefield, even though he had
absolutely no political background. Not only was Grant lacking in
political experience, he also had no particular interest in using
the powers of the presidency, and was taken advantage of by dishonest
associates. One of Grant's few accomplishments was approval of the
Specie Resumption Act, which made it legal to redeem "greenbacks"
issued during the Civil War for gold or silver coins. However, the
country was more likely to remember Grant's administration for the
fraud, graft, scandal, and corruption of his second term. Grant was
happy to leave office after eight years.