Ulysses Grant (1822-1885) commanded the victorious Union army during the American Civil War (1861-1865) and served as the 18th U.S. president from 1869 to 1877. An Ohio native, Grant graduated from West Point and fought in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). During the Civil War, Grant, an aggressive and determined leader, was given command of all the U.S. armies. After the war he became a national hero, and the Republicans nominated him for president in 1868. A primary focus of Grant’s administration was Reconstruction, and he worked to reconcile the North and South while also attempting to protect the civil rights of newly freed black slaves. While Grant was personally honest, some of his associates were corrupt and his administration was tarnished by various scandals. After retiring, Grant invested in a brokerage firm that went bankrupt, costing him his life savings. He spent his final days penning his memoirs, which were published the year he died and proved a critical and financial success.