He began his military career fighting in the Mexican-American war. Under the command of General Winfield Scott, his unit took Mexico City and ended the war. In the summer of 1853, he was promoted to captain after being moved to Oregon. Shortly after, he resigned from the military. When he left the military, he worked on farms, but this did not last long. Grant and a friend then decided to start a leather shop.
When the Civil War broke out, Grant was asked to recruit men for a volunteer unit in Illinois, and he accepted. He was then asked to train new recruits before being promoted to colonel and then brigadier general. Grant's first few battles were fought with volunteers along the Mississippi River. His first major wins were Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. Grant was then promoted to major general of volunteers. His next big battle was the battle of Shiloh, where he pushed the Confederate Army back and forth with neither side winning or losing. He then marched on the city of Vicksburg and besieged it until the Confederates surrendered, and the south was cut in half. Following the firing of General George G. Meade, Lincoln appointed Grant as head of all Union Armies. Grant then led a campaign to take Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia. He took these cities along with General Sherman's march to the sea in which he took Atlanta. Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9, 1865.
Grant later ran for office after becoming Secretary of War. He was nominated by the Republican Party and easily defeated his opponent. He served as president from 1869-1877. He lobbied Congress to pass the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed that no state could prevent someone from voting based on race. Grant also signed the Amnesty Act, which gave back political rights to the Confederacy. After serving two terms, and attempting a third, Grant traveled the world. Grant died on July 23, 1885 at the age of 63.