Paul Kahan: The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War's Legacy In his most recent book, The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, Kahan tackles a presidency vilified as one of the all-time worst, and shows its circumstances, accomplishments, and failures equally and fairly. Unlike most (all?) political leaders, Grant was less than obsessed with becoming president, announcing to his wife the day after the election, he was afraid he’d won. He did it because of all the suffering of the Civil War. He did not want to let the wartime accomplishments slide away. The Grant Administration was buffeted by three storms: Reconstruction, Economic Depression, and internal corruption. Grant seemed not to be up to dealing with all three at once. For the time, President Grant was considered quite active in enforcing civil rights laws. Until recently, the thought was Reconstruction of the south was a mistake altogether, that America should have left things alone to evolve for themselves. Nowadays, the thinking is Grant didn’t go far enough with strong laws and harsh enforcement that would have dealt racial discrimination a harder blow. Either way, Grant “failed.” President Grant seemed to have had no vision beyond saving his accomplishments in the Civil War. He personally was honest, straightforward, plain spoken and untainted. But the events of his era swept him into the dustbin of history, unjustifiably according to historian Paul Kahan. He says the critics were unfair, and the many accomplishments minimized. (h/t review at medium.com) Paul Kahan is a lecturer at Ohlone College in Fremont, California. Dr. Kahan earned a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Temple University, an M.A. in Modern American History & Literature from Drew University and B.A.s in history and English (with minors in medieval/ Renaissance studies and music) from Alfred University. His 2016 book, Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Scandalous Secretary of War, was praised as “Essential for any Civil War historian’s library. Kahan talked to our Round Table in March 2017 on Cameron. His most recent book, on U.S. Grant’s presidency, is the subject of this presentation.
Are you the creator of this podcast?
and pick the featured episodes for your show.
Connect with listeners
Podcasters use the RadioPublic listener relationship platform to build lasting connections with fansYes, let's begin connecting
Find new listeners
Understand your audience
Engage your fanbase