Grant’s First Term
The Republican Party suffered during Grant’s first term. The President’s circle of advisors included several unscrupulous men, and he was unwilling to dismiss them. Even more troublesome, the President’s actions against the Klan in the South generally drew more criticism than support in the North. Grant preferred to withdraw the troops but wanted to keep enough in the South to combat the excesses of the Klan. In 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified; Grant then signed the Force Bill, which prosecuted those who attempted to hamper Negro suffrage. The first blacks took their seats in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House that same year. After the disastrous results of the election of 1870, the lame duck Congress passed a bill creating a Commission on Civil Service Reform. The highlight of 1871 for the Grant administration was the Treaty of Washington, drafted by SOS Hamilton Fish, which resolved standing issues between the US and the British government.
Unhappiness with the Grant administration was noticed by Republican Party leaders. In early 1872, VP Colfax raised the possibility of replacing Grant as the presidential nominee; it was meritorious but impolitic. Grant responded by looking for a replacement candidate for Colfax.
After the Liberal Republican National Convention, Congress passed the Amnesty Act, which restored civil rights for all but about 600 former Confederate leaders. This act thus removed one of the hot issues of