Letters to the Editor: It's time to rehabilitate Ulysses S. Grant's historical reputation

·2 min read
The individual telegrams tend to be haphazardly archived, and many are missing, ¿ ¿[Gen. Ulysses S.] Grant, pictured here in Cold Harbor, Virginia, was known to say the best way to file documents was in his own pockets.¿ What the Eckert collection offers is a systematic, centralized record, in chronological order, of Union military telegrams.
Ulysses S. Grant was commanding general of the U.S. Army during the Civil War before becoming the 18th president. (Mathew Brady / Library of Congress)

To the editor: I read with interest historian Joseph J. Ellis' op-ed article on presidential rankings. I guess whether James Buchanan or Donald Trump lands at the bottom of those lists from now on depends on the weight placed on passive or active presidential malfeasance.

Ellis' observation about one president in particular caught my eye. He writes that over time, Ulysses S. Grant's ranking has undergone the greatest shift. While this is true, most Americans still know him, if at all, as the old guy on the 50-dollar bill or maybe for the corruption among his appointees.

In fact, widely revered during his life, Grant was a young president who did more to defend the civil rights of Black Americans than any president until Lyndon B. Johnson. I believe our common view — Grant as an old, corrupt guy — is the direct result of a century of historical revisionism by so-called Dixiecrats.

Bob Wieting, Simi Valley

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To the editor: I didn't think he could do permanent damage. I was wrong. Of course, I don't even have to mention his name, because you know who I'm talking about.

As a (former) lifelong Republican, I am ashamed of the party and its continuing enabling and support for this immoral human being.

I didn't vote for him in 2016 or 2020, because while I agreed with many of his policies, I simply knew he was unfit to serve as president of the United States. I just had no idea how much harm he could do.

I am so saddened by what he has done to our country.

Jason Naiman, Tarzana

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To the editor: We used to be the leaders of the free world. Under Trump we became the spoiled brats of the free world.

If now we do not formally convict and remove Trump, we will be known as the quitters of the free world, the children who gave in to the playground bully.

Edward L. Keenan, Los Angeles

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.