Monmouth County - Oakhurst - Winter Speaker Event - "The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War's Legacy"

Winter Speaker Event - "The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War's Legacy"
This is a joint event with the Long Branch Historical Association
Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 7:15 pm
Township of Ocean Board of Education (Old Oakhurst School), Auditorium, 
163 Monmouth Road, Oakhurst, NJ 07755 

At 7:15 p.m., Wednesday, April 17 in the auditorium of the Board of Education Building, 163 Monmouth Rd., Oakhurst, historian Paul Kahan, will speak about his most recent book, The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War’s Legacy.

On December 5, 1876, President Ulysses S. Grant transmitted his eighth and final message to Congress. In reviewing his tenure as president, Grant proclaimed, “Mistakes have been made,” though he assured Congress, his administration’s “failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent.” Until recently, scholars have portrayed Grant as among the country’s worst chief executives. Though the scholarly consensus about Grant’s presidency is changing, the general public knows little, if anything, about his two terms, other than their outsized reputation for corruption. 

While scandals are undoubtedly part of the story, there is more to Grant’s presidency: Grant faced the Panic of 1873, the severest economic depression in U.S. history, defeated the powerful Senator Charles Sumner on the annexation of Cuba, and deftly avoided war with Spain while laying the groundwork for the “special relationship” between Great Britain and the United States. Grant’s efforts to ensure justice for African Americans and American Indians, however, were undercut by his own decisions and by the contradictory demands of the various constituencies that made up the Republican Party.

In The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War’s Legacy, historian Paul Kahan focuses on the unique political, economic, and cultural forces unleashed by the Civil War and how Grant addressed these issues during his tumultuous two terms as chief executive. A timely reassessment, The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant sheds new light on the business of politics in the decade after the Civil War and portrays an energetic and even progressive executive whose legacy has been overshadowed by both his wartime service and his administration’s many scandals. 

Dr. Kahan earned a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Temple University where he worked with William W. Cutler, III. Prior to that, Dr. Kahan earned his M.A. in Modern American History & Literature from Drew University and B.A.s in history and English (with minors in medieval/Renaissance studies and music) from Alfred University.

In 2008, Dr. Kahan published his first book, Eastern State Penitentiary: A History. This book explores the penitentiary's history and is written for a popular audience. In February 2012, Peter Lang published Dr. Kahan's second book, Seminary of Virtue: The Ideology and Practice of Inmate Reform at Eastern State Penitentiary, 1829-1971. His third book, The Homestead Strike: Labor, Violence, and American Industry, was published by Routledge in late 2013. In 2016, Dr. Kahan published The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance, the first narrative overview of this turning point in American political history in more than half a century as well as Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln's Scandalous Secretary of War. His most recent book is The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War's Legacy. 

The speaker event is open to the public, free of charge. Donations are appreciated. Refreshments are served. (We collect and welcome non-perishable items for The speaker event is open to the public, free of charge. Donations are appreciated. Refreshments are served. (We collect and welcome nonperishable items for the Fulfill food bank [formerly the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties]).

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