ULYSSES S. GRANT 18th President of the United States
Today is the birthday of Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States. Born April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio, he was a successful general during the American Civil War having commanded the Union armies. Following service in the military, Grant, a Republican, was elected president and served for two terms in office from 1869 to 1877.As Garrison Keillor writes in The Writer's Almanac
"Upon leaving the White House he joined his son in an investment banking business.The banking venture was extremely profitable for a few years, and then the bubble burst. One of the bank's partners had been keeping false books and embezzling money into his private account. Grant, who had thought he was a millionaire, found out that his partnership in the failed bank left him several million dollars in debt. Less than ten years since he had been president of the United States, he had gone completely broke.
He had previously rejected requests to write about his experience as a Civil War general. Now he desperately needed the money. Mark Twain offered him 75 percent of the profits if Grant would publish with Twain's newly started publishing house.
But by that time, Grant had also been diagnosed with throat cancer and his health deteriorated rapidly. He realized that he didn't have long to live, and wrote his memoirs as fast as he could. In extreme pain, and in a daze from pain medication, he still managed to write 275,000 words in less than a year. In the last few weeks of his illness, he couldn't even speak, but he kept writing and revising, and checking everything he wrote against the official records to make sure it was all factual. He finished his memoirs in July 1885, and died four days later.