Grant the World Leader
General Grant may perhaps be considered the first true “world leader” and was viewed by most people abroad as, “The Hero of Freedom” or “The King of America.” The feeling people had about Grant can be summed up best by the words of Lord Provost on Sep. 13, 1877 in front of 50 thousand people, “Grant had proved himself the Wellington of America . . . The great and good Lincoln, struck down the poisonous tree of slavery; but Grant tore it up by the roots, so that it should never live in his country to suck nutriment from its soil.” He was the first former United States President to ever visit Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. While most 19th century Americans would limit their travels abroad to Europe, General Grant went as far as the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China. In the Holy Land, Grant walked the Via Dolorosa; the street through which Jesus Christ carried his cross.
To give you an idea of Grant’s celebrity status worldwide, General Grant was personally invited by Queen Victoria to Windsor Castle in England on June, 27, 1877. He was also kindly received by the legendary English Prime Minister Disraeli. Ironically, these meetings occurred less than 65 years after the British attacked Washington, D.C. and burned the White House. In Germany, Grant was warmly welcomed by Otto Van Bismarck, the founder and first chancellor of the German Empire, with whom he had an instant rapport. In Belgium he met King Leopold on July 7, 1877. In Italy, King Umberto gave him a state dinner and met with him on April 15, 1878. And on July 31, 1878, he had a very friendly meeting with Czar Alexander II of Russia, where at the end of their meeting the Czar said: “...as long as I live nothing shall be spared to continue this friendship.” Then, on August 20th 1878, Grant met with the Emperor of Austria, Francis Joseph, at the palace of Schoenbrunn. In Athens Greece a grand reception was offered by the King and Queen of Greece. Grant was warmly greeted by the Emperor of Japan in July of 1879 and actually shook hands with him which was strictly forbidden. In fact, such a thing was never before seen in the history of Japanese majesty. He met different Maharajah’s (Kings) in India, King Alfonso XII of Spain, The Emperor of Brazil, The Prince of Wales (King Edward the VII), etc.