Grant and Lee a Study in Contrasts

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Grant and Lee a Study in Contrasts

By | April 2012
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“Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts,” written by Bruce Catton compares and contrasts the characteristics and lives of two leaders of the Civil War. Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, two very strong and very different generals, met on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House in Virginia to bring to a close the Civil War. By this time, America had become a country that was starting over with the simple core belief in equal rights for everyone. Lee, who is from Virginia, had very traditional and old fashioned beliefs. He strongly believed in the idea that having unequal, leadership, and social categories provided an advantage to society. The Confederacy embraced Lee as their leader as well. Furthermore, Confederate soldiers considered Lee the symbol of everything for which they had been willing to die for. On the other hand, Grant was raised very differently from Lee, his father had been a tanner on the Western frontier, and he was brought to be a hardworking man and to make something of himself. Grant primarily focused on democracy and believed that no individual was born into any type of class. Moreover, he believed that society should have privileges that each man should win for themselves and not just have privileges because you were born into an aristocratic family. He is seemingly the complete opposite of Lee in his belief that each person has the ability to work hard and gain their own good fortunes. Grant believed in a balanced social structure that did not limit anyone to any particular fate. He believed that life was a competition and everyone should get the chance to reach their limits. Grant had a more modern outlook on life and Lee would rather live in accordance with the past. Also, Lee and Grant were most different when it came to loyalty. Lee saw himself very much in relation to his own region. He was brought up in a static society where change was not known. Therefore, his loyalty would only be to the society in the location he lived and would...

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