2 comments on “Down The Ohio

  1. SP,

    You’re right of course that Grant is best known for his generalship. I suppose what I was responding to is the fact that Grant is routinely mentioned (at least before Bush II) as the worst or one of the worst presidents ever which is unfair to Grant. I don’t want to take away from Grant’s generalship either. In some ways it was brilliant (Vicksburg), but it mostly was just terribly dogged (the Overland) which what was exactly what was missing in the armies of the east and hence his renown. The Compromise of 1877 formally instituted the two-party system and allowed for Jim Crow and affirmed white supremacy was signed off by him and I can’t think of too many worse political acts in the history of the Republic than that. So he gets marks both for winning the war and losing the “peace.”

    I think there was a movement in certain respectable centers of the population, especially in the wake of the civil rights movement, to write the Underground Railroad into their own history as a way of absolving their class of their role in slavery’s sins. In the absence of real proof, I take most stories of heroic white parsons shepherding blacks to freedom with a grain of salt.


  2. I enjoy your travel/historical pieces. I think you’re unfair to Grant when you say people remember him as a failed president. Most people remember him as the general who won the Civil War.

    On the topic of the underground railroad: I grew up in a town in New England. I knew a family who lived in a house that, they claimed, had been a part of the underground railroad. Strange to say, the eldest son in the family was a virulent racist.


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