U. S. Grant officially ended his military career when he resigned his commission
as general of the U.S. Army on March 4, 1869, the year he became President of the United States. As the hero of the Civil
War, he was the popular choice to lead the United States through the problems that existed following the War Between the
The American people hoped to end the nation's turmoil when they elected Grant
to office. But many historians determined that Grant did little to move the country forward. Looking to Congress for direction,
he often seemed bewildered. One visitor to the White House noted "a puzzled pathos, as of a man with a problem before him
of which he does not understand the terms."
After his election, Grant even took part of his army staff to the White House.
He led the government in much the same way as he had led the army. Many felt he had no real policy for Reconstruction, and
he just continued Congress' policy of Radical Reconstruction, which was the plan President Johnson enacted to reconstruct
the nation. As time progressed, however, many people, including many Republicans, began to see Grant's continuation of stationing
troops in the South as militarism. This led to dissatisfaction with the Republican Party. As more states re-entered the Union,
they began to enact State governments led by Democrats.
During his campaign for re-election in 1872, Grant was attacked by Liberal
Republican reformers. His supporters in the Republican Party became known proudly as "the Old Guard." Winning a second term
in office, Grant allowed Radical Reconstruction to run its course in the South, bolstering it at times with military force.