Historians have traditionally drawn distinctions between Ulysses S.
Grant's military and political careers. In Let Us Have
, Brooks Simpson questions such distinctions and offers a
new understanding of this often enigmatic leader. He argues that
during the 1860s Grant was both soldier and politician, for
military and civil policy were inevitably intertwined during the
Civil War and Reconstruction era. According to Simpson, Grant
instinctively understood that war was 'politics by other means.'
Moreover, he realized that civil wars presented special challenges:
reconciliation, not conquest, was the Union's ultimate goal. And in
peace, Grant sought to secure what had been won in war, stepping in
to assume a more active role in policymaking when the intransigence
of white Southerners and the obstructionist behavior of President
Andrew Johnson threatened to spoil the fruits of Northern