Shadow and Custodial President

Topics: President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, Chester A. Arthur Pages: 5 (1891 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Shadow and Custodial Presidents

Grant (1868) – Cleveland (1892)
Throughout the history of the world there have been many people remembered for their actions and a great deal more forgotten for no real reason. This does not exempt more recent history. After the American Civil War, six lesser-known Presidents, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, and Harrison, have been given titles of either shadow or custodial presidents. A shadow, is a section of darkness, or a part that follows behind. Some of the Presidents seem to have fallen into the shadows of other events, people, and issues. Others put themselves there, just stepping out long enough to take care of a few urgent tasks then sink back into the unknown. "Custodial Presidents" a term implying that the man is there only to fix problems already out of hand. He does not create policies or change the course of the nation, just keeps it on its way. Truthfully, some of these men are deserving of these titles. Others may not be. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant 1868-1876

Towards the end of President Johnson's term in office, Johnson and Grant began to have public disagreements about the state of the Union. Due to these quarrels Grant aligned himself with the Radical Republican political party. Grant was already well known for his triumphs during the Civil War and was thus, the popular choice for Presidential Nominee. Grant was the son of an Ohio tanner. He was educated at West Point, where he graduated 21st out of 39. Grant fought in both the Mexican and Civil Wars. In 1864 President Abraham Lincoln appointed Grant to the Position of General in Chief. As President, grant had difficulty in making wise judgements. He was a man who tried, in most ways; to be honest, but still found himself in association to dishonest acts. Grant was known to accept a considerable amount of gifts from political admirers. He was also seen with the speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk. Two men, who were planning to corner the market in gold. Grant did realize their plan, and he tried to put an abrupt halt to it. However his action caused a tremendous amount of fiduciary turmoil. Grant in no way curbed Radical Reconstruction, in the South. At times he aided it with military force. Mostly, during his two terms as President, Grant spent a great deal of time cleaning up the messes that him and others had created. Therefor, he had little time to address issues that were presently arising. Grant has been labeled a Custodial President for these reasons, and the term is fitting. After his Presidency Grant became involved with a financial firm that later went bankrupt. Soon following he was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and died in 1885, shortly after completing his memoirs. Rutherford B. Hayes 1876-1880

At the center of the most debated presidential election ever, is Rutherford Hayes. A man who spoke well, presented himself properly, and made moderate changes in America. Hayes was born in the state of Ohio in 1822. Later, he was educated at Kenyon College and Harvard Law School. Afterward he fought in the Civil War, where he was wounded in action. Hayes was elected into Congress in 1865, and served three terms as the Governor of Ohio between1867 and 1876. Hayes ran for the Presidency in 1876, and had the minority of the popular vote. However, Zachariah Chandler, Republican National Chairman, was aware of a loophole in the election process. The electoral vote was in Hayes' favor 185 to 184. Upon election, Hayes demanded that his dealings with lobbyists and politicians should be based upon the merit and importance of each issue, rather than political considerations of the person. He also chose men to be part of his cabinet that he believed to of a high caliber. Much to the disgruntlement of many Republicans, this cabinet included an ex-Confederate and a man who bolted from the Republican Party. Hayes promised to try and protect the...
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