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Ulysses S. Grant Biography – 18. US President

Late in the administration of Andrew Johnson, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant quarreled with the President and aligned himself with the Radical Republicans. He was, as the symbol of Union victory during the Civil War, their logical candidate for President in 1868. When he was elected, the American people hoped for …

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Andrew Johnson Biography – 17. US President

With the Assassination of Lincoln, the Presidency fell upon an old-fashioned southern Jacksonian Democrat of pronounced states’ rights views. Although an honest and honorable man, Andrew Johnson was one of the most unfortunate of Presidents. Arrayed against him were the Radical Republicans in Congress, brilliantly led and ruthless in their …

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Abraham Lincoln Biography – 16. US President

Lincoln warned the South in his Inaugural Address: “In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you…. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn …

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James Buchanan Biography – 15. US President

Tall, stately, stiffly formal in the high stock he wore around his jowls, James Buchanan was the only President who never married. Presiding over a rapidly dividing Nation, Buchanan grasped inadequately the political realities of the time. Relying on constitutional doctrines to close the widening rift over slavery, he failed …

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Franklin Pierce Biography – 14. US President

Franklin Pierce became President at a time of apparent tranquility. The United States, by virtue of the Compromise of 1850, seemed to have weathered its sectional storm. By pursuing the recommendations of southern advisers, Pierce–a New Englander–hoped to prevent still another outbreak of that storm. But his policies, far from …

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Millard Fillmore Biography – 13. US President

In his rise from a log cabin to wealth and the White House, Millard Fillmore demonstrated that through methodical industry and some competence an uninspiring man could make the American dream come true. Born in the Finger Lakes country of New York in 1800, Fillmore as a youth endured the …

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Zachary Taylor Biography – 12. US President

Northerners and Southerners disputed sharply whether the territories wrested from Mexico should be opened to slavery, and some Southerners even threatened secession. Standing firm, Zachary Taylor was prepared to hold the Union together by armed force rather than by compromise. Born in Virginia in 1784, he was taken as an …

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James K. Polk Biography – 11. US President

Often referred to as the first “dark horse” President, James K. Polk was the last of the Jacksonians to sit in the White House, and the last strong President until the Civil War. He was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, in 1795. Studious and industrious, Polk was graduated with …

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