Summary of “Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts”

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“Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts,” written by Bruce Catton compares and contrasts the lives and characteristics of two Civil War leaders. Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, two very strong and very different generals, met on April 9, 1865 to essentially end the Civil War. America is a country starting over with a simple core belief of equal rights. Lee, from Virginia, has traditional beliefs, culture and tradition. Lee believed in the idea that having unequal, set social categories provided an advantage to society. The Confederacy embraced Lee as the icon of everything they believed in.
Grant, on the other hand, was raised the “hard way” on the Western frontier by his father, a tanner. Grant, primarily focused on what the future holds, is seemingly the complete opposite of Lee. Grant believed in a balanced social structure that didn’t limit anyone to any particular fate. He believed that life was a competition and everyone should get the chance to reach their limits.
Grant and Lee had individual beliefs that clashed with one another. Grant had a more modern outlook on life and Lee would rather live in accordance with the past. Catton points out that underneath the surface, both of them had similar characteristics. Their fighting abilities were. Two influential people may appear completely opposite, but underneath it all are very similar. Their gathering at Appomattox was a great moment in American history.

Works Cited
Catton, Bruce. “Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts.” A Writer’s Workshop: Crafting Paragraphs, Building Essays. Ed. Bob Brannon. NewYork:McGraw-Hill, 2006. 667-670

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