Henry Adams on Ulysses S. Grant

I present here a short gem from the good old days when politicians and other public figures knew how to sling some zingers like pros. These are the thoughts of Henry Adams, a writer and historian as well as the grandson and great-grandson (respectively) of presidents John Quincy Adams and John Adams (sixth and second President of the United States, respectively), on Ulysses S. Grant, the Union Civil War general and president, as recorded in his autobiography.

He had no right to exist. He should have been extinct for ages. The idea that, as society grew older, it grew one-sided, upset evolution, and made of education a fraud. That, two thousand years after Alexander the Great and Julius Cæsar, a man like Grant should be called—and should actually and truly be—the highest product of the most advanced evolution, made evolution ludicrous. One must be as common-place as Grant’s own common-places to maintain such an absurdity. The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant, was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.


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