Grant - Chapter 34-36 Summary & Analysis

Ron Chernow
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Summary

Chernow opens Chapter 34 by again emphasizing that Grant’s reputation for corruption has been exaggerated. He was extremely honest personally and had the misfortune of serving during a time when corruption was rampant throughout the American political system. Grant’s true weakness was that he was overly trusting of his friends and slow to distance himself from people who turned out to be unscrupulous. The President publicly advocated for Civil Service reform, most notably in the introduction of exams for government jobs, but still used the patronage system to curry favor and influence other politicians. Further, he tended to align ideologically with the Reconstructionist, fiscally conservative party bosses like Roscoe Conkling in New York, further associating his legacy as one of corruption. As the 1872 Presidential election approached, Grant was challenged by newspaper editor Horace Greeley who nominated by both the Democrats and a...

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