Ulysses S. Grant Monument
Erected with funds raised through public subscription, this imposing monument to the commander of the Union Army and 18th U.S. president from 1869 to 1877, was completed only six years after Grant's death. Sculptor Louis Rebisso, a political refugee from Italy, also created noteworthy mounted memorials to General McPherson in Washington, DC (1876) and President William Henry Harrison in Rebisso's adopted home town of Cincinnati (1895). Born in 1822, Grant attended West Point and served in the U.S. Army from 1843 to 1854, distinguishing himself in the Mexican American War—a conflict he condemned for expanding slavery to additional states. Between 1855 and 1861, when he returned to military service in Illinois, Grant pursued a number of unsuccessful ventures, including farming on his father-in-law's Missouri plantation, where he purchased and quickly manumitted a slave, and working for his father, a fervent abolitionist, at the family's Galena, Illinois leather goods business. Grant quickly proved himself a brilliant tactician and leader, rising to lead the Union forces by 1865. His record as president, following Lincoln's successor Andrew Johnson, was seen as mostly good, in establishing the Department of Justice to energetically attack the Ku Klux Klan, and upholding voting and civil rights for formerly enslaved people. The loss of the house of representatives to the Democratic Party and an economic downturn in his second term began to erode the gains of Reconstruction, which ended in 1877. Grant's American Indian policies were well intentioned, but ultimately disastrous.