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Ulysses Grant (President)
Ulysses Grant

Ulysses Grant (President)

Ulysses Grant (President)
Ulysses Grant


Grant, the son of Jesse Grant and Hannah Grant had a rather rough childhood. He was just like his mother – withdrawn, quiet and emotionless. (We have all met kids like that- weirdos).
His father owned a tannery business but he couldn’t continue in his father’s business because of the repulsive smell of tan. He never hunted because he couldn’t bear to kill.

His father opted to send him to school, maybe he would at least do well there, but Ulysses Grant (President) could not keep up with school work either. He was below in every subject except mathematics. Outside school, he was an exceptional horseman, which he put to great use by transporting people and delivering supplies.

A rather significant aspect of his childhood was his ability to show exceptional stupidity. A particular time, his father asked him to go bargain for a horse, on getting there he said, “My father says I may offer you 20 dollars for the colt, but if you won’t take it I am to offer 22 1/2 dollars and if u won’t take that am to offer 25 dollars”.
The horse seller’s acted as expected, he collected 25 Dollars of course!
Ulysses was given a change of name when the news of his purchasing skill got to the ears of people. In no time, young and old started calling him “USELESS” as opposed to his real name “ULYSSES”.

In 1839, Ulysses Grant (President) joined the US military academy (West Point). Ulysses was tone deaf and thus could not learn how to march. Ulysses fine horsemanship was put to great use here and he set a high-jump record that stood for 25years during his graduation ceremony from West Point.

In 1848, Ulysses Grant (President) got married to Julia Dent, a sister to one of his colleagues (Frederick Dent) at West Point, whom he met while visiting the Dent’s house some years back. He joined the Army but blamed himself for ever making that decision (remember he can’t kill animals talk more of humans)

He failed at almost everything!

The only thing that seemed to work well for him was Julia- a girl that caught his eye!

Remember when I told You Ulysses was blaming himself for joining the Army??
Well, he got so tired that he wanted to quit, but there was no job anywhere else and the fear of abject poverty kept him from quitting (he was married now with kids).


Ulysses took steps to boost his earning while at his station. He tried selling ice but failed at it!
He didn’t give up, he planted potato, but good luck wasn’t really on his side, so it got flooded and everything was lost!

That hit him really hard because he invested a lot in it.
Away from his family, broke and depressed, he started drinking!

Ulysses Grant (President) would be unable to go to work and when he finally does go to work, he was always drunk!
He was finally dismissed after several warning from his commander and his refusal to change!

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Grant became a civilian! A broke civilian with a bleak future.
The only thing staring at him was poverty! Abject poverty!

He was back to something worse than square one!
Grant was 32 years old with no job, no trade, with one wife and two children, he had to borrow money from his friend to build something that looked like a dog house. He ventured into farming but he couldn’t take the stress.

After a while, he started working as a clerk at his father’s leather store, but he kept forgetting the prices of goods, he would sell goods at lower prices.


Ulysses Grant in battle

The break came for him when the civil war started in 1861. He enlisted and became a colonel! He was a colonel but he was still the same shy, awkward guy!

He led his soldiers on their first mission and he won his first battle without even shedding a blood! You are probably wondering how he got to do that. Well, the opposing soldiers ran away, they were scared of him!
But this unexpected victory built his confidence!
Am sure he felt like “wow! So someone can actually be scared of me! That means am not that bad! I still have hope then.”

After winning the victory, without even shooting a gun he became the Brigadier General.
At this point his father said to him “you’re doing well now, try not to lose your job.”

Ulysses Grant (President) was diagnosed with throat cancer in late 1884 and died on July 23, 1885 at the age 63 in Mount McGregor, New York, in the Adirondack Mountains, where he and his family were spending the summer.

This quiet man, who managed to graduate from military school went on to become the Lieutenant General in March 1984 and was given command of all U.S. armies.- a position that has only been held by George Washington.
He fought bravely and led his army to the victory that marked the end of the civil war in 1865!

This is not one of those Historical posts where you get to read about his childhood, career, family life and what have you, this is the story of a man who amounted to someone he never even thought possible.
This man that was living from hand to mouth, the same man people thought had no future went on to become the General of the Armed Forces in 1866.

Ulysses Grant (President) went on to dine with Abraham Lincoln! In fact I would say, Abraham Lincoln waited on his hands for this man.

Does it end there?? NO!!!

Ulysses who was once called “Useless” became the only hope of North Virginia during the war. The whole of North Virginia worshipped him.
Ulysses Grant (President) went on to become the 18th President of the United States. Ulysses didn’t just rule America once, he ruled America twice (two consecutive times).

Everything he went through was enough for him to commit Suicide! But he didn’t! He didn’t give up on himself or allowed self-pity neither did he allow what people were saying affect him!

I don’t know and I don’t care about what you have been told, what you have gone through or what you’re going through! All I know is that u need to overcome your rough beginning and keep pushing forward!

He could have kept on working as a clerk! But he didn’t! He refused to settle for less! He believed in himself even when no one else did!
That is the most important thing “keep believing in yourself”

Thanks for reading!
Mille grazie!

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Folu Olufunke

Folu Olufunke is a writer, curriculum developer and an educationist. When she isn't scouting for the next juicy story to bring here, you'll find her neck deep in her books or advocating for quality education for all

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