The Lost Cause

U.S. Grant


If you love history, read Grant by Ron Chernow.

If you’re not a reader, watch the 3-part mini-series on History simply entitled “Grant.” You can find it On Demand.

If even that seems too much, at least watch Episode 3: “Freedom’s Champion.”

Doesn’t it seem that at the most critical moments in the history of our nation, we have been blessed with the right leader at the right time?

Washington, who willingly gave up power when he could have named himself King.

Lincoln, whose compassion and steadfastness abolished slavery in America and brought us through our Civil War.

FDR, who rescued us from the Great Depression and whose honesty and optimism helped us to victory in WW2.

But there’s another we often overlook, Ulysses S. Grant, the General whose tactical brilliance and resolve won the Civil War.

Grant’s place in our pantheon of great leaders suffered from The Big Lie told following the Civil War. It’s known as “The Lost Cause,” and its purpose was to re-frame the insurrection of the Southern states as a fight for states rights rather than an attempt to hold on to the practice on enslaving human beings.

In this Big Lie, the South needed to answer the question, “How did we sacrifice so much for a cause so bad as slavery?”

White supremacy was masked under more acceptable language. While the KKK began its reign of terror and disenfranchisement immediately following the surrender of the Confederate armies, white men, hiding behind sheets as they lynched and terrorized newly freed black men in order to keep them from voting, we can surely acknowledge that effort to limit black rights has never actually died.

Hiding behind terms like “voter fraud,” it persists.We all saw the Confederate flag waved inside our Capitol by the insurrectionists of 2021.

The rage and racism that persists today still splits our nation apart.

Grant’s story is inspiring. It’s hopeful. An ordinary man doing extraordinary things for our nation.

It’s well worth thinking about because of the times in which we now live, when truth is under assault, when democracy itself is attacked by those who consider themselves “patriots,” just as did those early members of the KKK.

History has much to teach us when we’re ready.

You can begin by watching the story of this remarkable President today.