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President Ulysses S. Grant was prescient

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. 

Ulysses S. Grant, 1875

No doubt there are numerous great quotations from throughout history that I’ve not seen before, but I continue to be surprised by the prescience of Americans almost 150 years ago. This time it’s Ulysses S. Grant, famed Union general during the Civil War and first president elected to succeed Abraham Lincoln. Yes, Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s vice president, served out Lincoln’s term, but then Grant was elected for two terms.

This particular quotation was circulating in January of this year, perhaps in response to the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. It’s certainly food for thought, especially since Grant was a Republican. But then, so was Lincoln. My, how things have changed.

13 Comments »

      • Partly true, but not superstition though. There is plenty of evidence that the GOP embraces superstition in the form of conspiracy theories and cherry-picked religious doctrine.

        • I was trying to remain politically neutral, but it seems painfully obvious to me, an unaffiliated moderate, that for the most part it’s today’s GOP that is embracing superstition, ambition, and ignorance. That puts the Dems on the “patriotism and intelligence” side. As a Republican in 1875, Grant saw it the other way around. Interesting how the positions have changed over time.

    • johnthecook. According to Historians about 70 to 80% of the adult population were literate in America around the 1860’s The definitions to the words pend or used by President Grant can be found in the 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary Of The English Language when using the vernacular of the day/era in which they were penned and or spoken. In todays world it is the “slang” we use today that drives the change in definitions of old words ,to give them a new meaning/definition in our present age. Here is some food for thought….”A lie does not become truth; wrong doesn’t become right; and evil does not become good, just because it is accepted by a majority.” Rick Warren.

      • Appreciate you adding the background and more context.
        They are spending more money per child than ever before with more and more dismal results ( those reports focused on pre-pandemic results…even worse now…but COVID will be used as an excuse when it was all circling the drain before – and everyone knew it. So no excuses)
        It’s not rocket science.
        The Fed gov/elected officials are boasting about tossing big money at education – but that’s not the solution. That has been tried for years and years since the 60’s. Failure.
        Nor is offering “free” 2 years of tuition for college/jr. college/trade school. If students didn’t take advantage of free pre-k to 12 and learn as much as they could, why does anyone think “free” 2 more years (of socializing and not being held accountable in the adult world) will make any difference?
        Interesting High School used to stop at grade 10 – and people were still more literate and educated academically. My mom’s HS ended at grade 11. College instead of grade 12. The unions pushed for 12 years of school to keep young adults off the job market just a bit longer…
        Every child needs a solid, clean safe building as a school – money spent on that as infrastructure is a good idea. But just throwing more money thinking that will fix the poor student performance, uh, no.
        High standard, teaching core academic subjects to mastery.
        It’s going to be a real challenge…a hard one. A consensus for the importance of it – or we’re done.
        You added a terrific comment. Thanks

      • Word meanings can and do change over time, but I think those used by Grant still mean basically the same thing. Education, however, has changed a lot, and not always for the better. Teachers who continue to pass and schools who continue to graduate students who have not achieved the required basics are hurting both the students and society. But it’s done to meet the standards necessary to get funding. A vicious cycle benefitting no one in the long run. It’s not whether kids are in school till the 10th grade or the 12th grade, or whatever; it’s what’s learned in those years.

  1. Through the decades…so many lies about Grant. He was an amazing man. Not a lazy, heavy drinker. He was there when we needed him.
    Funny how that works sometime.

Now that I've had my say ...

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