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Grant And Lee: A Study In Contrasts

738 words - 3 pages

Abstract: Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts Wars and conflicts may determine the rise or fall of great leaders. Even today, such leaders are portrayed as martyrs for their impeccable courage and valor on the battlefield. In Bruce Catton's essay, Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts, he reveals the different leadership styles of both generals and then presents the strength of two conflicting currents that entered into a final collision, the Civil War. Catton introduces a sentiment of excitement and change in his beginning paragraphs by introducing comradeship and amnesty. These concepts represent the pinnacle of American history and its new foundations. Catton uses literary techniques of diction, contrast, and juxtaposition to reveal the situation that was presented to both generals. Two great Americans, General Grant and General Lee, fought for their respective, regional beliefs. Despite their regional differences, they were very much alike. It was April 9, 1865, when Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee met in the parlor in Appomattox Court House to determine the fate of the fugitive South (the former Confederacy). To the South, General Lee was the cornerstone of motivation. He represented the notion that the old, aristocratic concept should dominate American life, in order for the South to maintain its unique culture. Lee deeply grounded in the ideals of family, culture, and tradition, was a Virginian. He was proud that America had the right to pronounce inequality in the social structure and believed that land should be the principal source of wealth and influence. General Lee personified the traditional, Southern, aristocratic ideals. Through him, the Southern states fought a desperate war to uphold the ideals to which he was dedicated. Hence, if there were no justification for fighting the war, the Confederates were able to rationalize it because of Lee. The justification for combat was the Virginian who lived in a static society that endured everything, except change. Lee's rationalization for fighting this war was that he was defending everything that gave his life meaning.Grant was the exact opposite of Lee. Born the son of a tanner on the Western frontier, he revered no...

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