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U.S. Grant on ‘patriotism and intelligence’ vs. ‘superstition, ambition and ignorance’

A hauntingly prescient statement from the 18th president.

President Ulysses S. Grant, 1870
President Ulysses S. Grant, 1870
Photo by Mathew Brady

Ulysses S. Grant, the top Union general in the Civil War and subsequently a two-term president, said the following in 1875 as he neared the end of his second term, and as the first centennial of the U.S. Declaration of Independence approached:

If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason’s and Dixon’s, but between patriotism and intelligence on one side, and superstition, ambition, and ignorance on the other. Now in this centennial year of our national existence, I believe it a good time to begin the work of strengthening the foundation of the house commenced by our patriotic forefathers one hundred years ago, at Concord and Lexington.

Pretty haunting at the moment. He made the statement in Des Moines, at a reunion of Civil War soldiers.

Have a great weekend and Martin Luther King Day on Monday.