Talk:Ulysses S. Grant

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Grant the "expansionist"?[edit]

We should be taking exception to this opening sentence in the Dominican Republic annexation attempt section: — "Grant was an expansionist despite the strong tradition in the Republican Party against it." "Tradition"? It was Jefferson, the definitive Republican, who promoted the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the size of the existing U.S.. The opening language in this section needs to be rewritten, esp the first sentence, as it smacks of modern day hyper-speak. Chernow, p.661, per the citation, doesn't refer to Grant as an "expansionist" -- a term that has negative connotations, esp among the young, naive and ignorant. Grant's only concern here was diplomacy with Haiti and the prospect of a haven for freed Blacks. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 04:26, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

Yeah, that's not a great topic sentence, I agree. In the version of this article that passed FA review, this was the first sentence of the DR section: "Grant believed in peaceful expansion of the nation's borders, and thought acquisition of the majority-black island nation would allow new economic opportunities for African Americans in the United States while increasing American naval power in the Caribbean." with a cite to Brands, pp. 455-456. I think something more along those lines would be much better. Maybe "Grant believed in peaceful expansion of the nation's borders, and thought acquisition of the majority-black island nation of Santo Domingo would allow new economic opportunities for African Americans in the United States while increasing American naval power in the Caribbean." --Coemgenus (talk) 17:50, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
We should also go back to having that as one big section. The introductory part of the Foreign affairs section could be largely cut. And the Hawaii part is a whole subsection with one sentence, which is generally discouraged. I'm not sure why the long endnote about Otto von Bismarck is there, either. --Coemgenus (talk) 17:53, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
The "expansionist" edit was made back in May of this year. Going a little further back, annexation isn't even mention. Then of course when the article became a FA it was. During this time the section has morphed to one version after another it seems. I support the idea of restoring the opening (and other) language in the section to the version it was when it became a FA. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:04, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Sumner was an expansionist. He fully approved and advocated the annexation of Alaska. He gave a speech in the Senate fully endorsing Alaska annexation. Sumner even advocated Canada annexation to be reparation for the Alabama Claims. Why opposition to Santo Domingo by Senators ? Maybe there was a mix of racism, not wanting to have more blacks in the Senate and Congress. There was the Hatch incident too of being imprisoned by Báez. Babcock, rather than Fish, being used to negotiate the two treaties, policical unrest, and lack of concern for blacks in the United States. Santo Domingo seems to be a diplomatic anomaly. Cmguy777 (talk) 16:47, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
I fixed the narration and added a context note. Cmguy777 (talk) 17:38, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
Aside from being an national expansionist, Sumner had other good qualities. He was wise to make attempts to secure Alaska, lest it fall into the hands of another foreign power. No one was displaced when Alaska was finally acquired, and the relatively few inhabitants scattered across that desolate part of the world were better off being under the protectorate of the United States. As for "racism", and that sort of thing, I hardly think any representatives in Santo Domingo would have made any difference in tipping the racial balance in government, so let's not start envisioning issues where there are none. After Spain gave up Santo Domingo it was one of the few Islands free of European control, and whose inhabitants, mostly Spanish descendants and mulattoes, welcomed an American protectorate. We were discussing Grant and the opening language. You didn't mention Grant once in your reply, btw. "expansionist impulse" is hardly an improvement. There was great concern about various European powers violating the Monroe Doctrine, taking advantage of the instability of the aftermath of the Civil War, with designs on American interests. That was the driving concern. Also, Kahan is a short book about Reconstruction, yet it is used as the primary source in the section, and isn't viewable, so I'm having some doubts about its use and some of the language it supports. i.e.Chernow didn't use the term "expansionist impulse", nor did he mention the Monroe Doctrine on p.661. Will have to examine statements cited by Kahan and compare them with Calhoun's account, an extensive work about Grant's presidency. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:24, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
What other countries or territories did Grant want to annex-lease other than Santo Domingo and Samaná Bay? The Hawaiian treaty was a free-trade-treaty, not an annexation treaty. Apparently, the two Santo Domingo treaties were the only annexation-lease treaties Grant offered Congress. Cmguy777 (talk) 02:52, 12 October 2019 (UTC)

Without getting into semantics, and deliberations over terms, i.e.territories, etc, there was a great concern over European, esp British, intervention into American interests after the Civil War, and rightly so in the eyes of American interests -- esp in light of the fact that Britain worked earnestly to supply the Confederacy and split (i.e.divided and conquer) America during the war. There was not exactly an element of trust where Europe was concerned. It still sort of amazes me that Grant, during his world tour, was so 'polite' with Britain, but diplomacy and stability among world powers is what prompted his diplomatic compliance. Efforts to secure the Caribbean, ala Santo Domingo, were justified, as Spain was just as 'enthusiastic' about their interests. Ditto where Alaska and Hawaii were concerned. It seems Grant was not so naive to this overall post war vulnerablity, esp with Fish, Sumter and other advisers behind him. At any rate, the section, imo, reads better. Is there something specific you'd like to add and/or omit? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 04:57, 12 October 2019 (UTC)

I had asked what other territories or nations did Grant desire to acquire ? So far not answered. We can't put that (those) edit(s) in the narration without naming any specific nations or territories. I have read no sources that say Grant attempted to acquire other territories or nations other than Santo Domingo or to lease Samaná Bay. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:07, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
This is what should be omitted: "and other territories". Cmguy777 (talk) 05:12, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
If there is a source that nails the idea that Grant, and his advisors, had absolutely no concern over Alaska and Hawaii, by all means, omit that phrase. Chernoiw, p. 661, says there was such a concern. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 05:17, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
Chernow says Seward desired to acquire Hawaii. Alaska territory was acquired in 1867, before Grant was President. Grant's treaty with Hawaii was only a free-trade-treaty, not an annexation treaty. Chernow does not say Grant acquired Alaska or Hawaii. Hawaii was annexed in 1898. Grant only presented Congress with one annexation treaty, Santo Domingo, and a Treaty to lease Samaná Bay. The statement should be removed. Alaska and Hawaii are covered in the note. Cmguy777 (talk) 06:51, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
We can still say Grant desired other territories as a general statement for reasons of national security and commerce/trade after the war. However, if this is going to be an issue, then we can remove or reword the 'other territories' phrase. I thought it was consistent with the "expansionist" idea. Now you seem to be saying Grant was not an expansionist, he only had eyes on Santo Domingo. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:26, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
I don't want to make a big deal of this, but Chernow says: "It is important to note that after the Civil War, territorial expansion and imperialism were very much in the air, William Seward having bought Alaska for $7.2 million and begun maneuvers to acquire Hawaii." Grant is not directly mentioned. Grant wanted Santo Domingo and lease Samaná Bay, but beyond those, there was no other annexation annexation-lease treaties proposals by Grant. It is safe to say Grant was an expansionist along with Sumner. In this case Grant was apparently betrayed by Sumner, who full heartedly endorsed the Alaska annexation. We could that: "In the aftermath of the 1867 Alaska annexation...", to give more perspective on Santo Domingo. Cmguy777 (talk) 20:23, 12 October 2019 (UTC)

We should stay away from obtuse labels and other distortions that play on modern day, media-induced, stigmas, as was explained, and just state the facts. After the Civil War, there was more concern for European encroachment and violations against the Monroe Doctrine<Chernow, p.555> than there was for "expansion" or anything to do with the KKK. Chernow doesn't even mention the KKK here. Nothing becomes a big deal unless someone chooses to make it so, and given your last edits, it seems you have. The opening Language should mention the post war concern for violations against the Monroe Doctrine, and post-war instability and vulnerability, which you removed, and not give the KKK center stage and undue weight coverage over these major factors. National security was the main issue. The KKK was just a national embarrassment, hyped by the newspapers and the 'friends of America' crowd, and doesn't deserve to be reverse-idolized by any editor with perpetual racial issues, in the opening language, giving them more significance than they actually had. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 05:24, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Grant was concerned about the Carribean protection. No need to mention Monroe Doctrine specifically. You can spout all you want about your politics Gwillhickers, but this is not about politics. My version was better. "The KKK was just a national embarrassment". Not true for blacks in the South or any white Republican who supported Reconstruction. I put in the neutrality tag because what does safe haven mean other than protection from the Klan. This was before the Ku Klux Klan Act. I don't believe we are working together on this so I don't want a continual edit war in the talk page. Chernow does not mention Grant had other designs on other territories. Cmguy777 (talk) 06:31, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Chernow doesn't mention the Klan. Chernow mentions Grant's concern about violations of the Monroe doctrine after the war, volunteer colonization, diplomacy and good relations with President Baez. This is not about the Klan in the capacity you seem to think/want, but Grant's concerns about the Dominican Republic, trade agreements, an island not controlled by European powers and a safe haven for blacks. Grant did not have an "expansionist impulse". Please don't speak to me about spouting politics while you get up on a soapbox and reverse-idolize the Klan, making them out to be this army that permeated the entire south. There's no neutrality issued by mentioning the Monroe Doctrine, and a safe haven, as does Chernow, and not giving specific emphasis to the klan, which Chernow does not. Once again, you use Wikipedia articles and talk pages to vent your anger. Thanx Cm. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:38, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Chernow mentions the Ku Klux Klan: 588, 613, 621, 623, 662, 686, 702-703, 704, 705-710, 711, 712. Cmguy777 (talk) 18:58, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Chernow mentions Lincoln on dozens of pages. Chernow mentions Appomattox on many pages. So what? Show us where Chernow ties in the Klan specifically with affairs about Santo Domingo, rather than reciting page numbers out of an index. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:01, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Are we reading the same book ? Chernow said Grant was a racial visionary concerning Santo Domingo. Please read page 662. Grant himself said: "the crime of Klu Kluxism". Are you disputing the General's own words ? Cmguy777 (talk) 19:15, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Yes, Grant uses that phrase regarding prejudice, but his emphasis is on a colony set up for blacks, maintaining that Santo Domingo was "capable of supporting the entire colored population of the U.S.". I had made reference to southern prejudice in general. Mentioning the klan only at this juncture suggests that prejudice was only a problem where the klan was concerned. Certainly the klan was a factor. We can make reference to southern prejudice using Grant's words, but I would leave the opening language, per Chernow in place. Santo Domingo was in the works before Grant assumed office. Johnson wanted to annex all of Hispanola. Seward "worked tirelessly" for annexation. There was concern from everyone about European encroachment in violation of the Monroe Doctrine, which certainly factored into matters. Grant was just going along with the program when he finally assumed office. Chernow refers to him as a "passive spectator". Annexation "was a proposition from the Santo Domingo people".<Chernow pp.661-662> There was no "expansionist impulse" on Grant's account, and the klan is only mentioned figuratively in reference to prejudice. In any event, the neutrality tag is not called for. Could you please remove it so we can move on without a black eye on the article?

Chernow says Grant "portrayed" himself as a "passive spectator". That is not saying he was. Grant said "the proposition came up for the admission of Santo Domingo as a territory of the Union." I did use Grant's words "the crime of Klu Kluxism" in the article. I can drop the neutrality tag. I suggest we let the article settle. Let other editors have time to make changes or give opinions. Kahan said Grant had an "expansionist impulse." We have to go by what the sources say, as I have been told a billion times. Cmguy777 (talk) 22:13, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

If Chernow says that's how Grant portrayed himself, then that's what he was, a passive spectator. Grant did not initiate the move to secure Santo Domingo. It was already on his plate when he assumed office and he went along with the program, fond of the idea of a safe haven for blacks, and national security in the Caribbean. That hardly amounts to an "expansionist impulse", esp in the way it was used as the opening sentence, regardless of what Kahan says, who, btw, is contrary to what Chernow is saying, and fully explains for us. What does Kahan offer to substantiate this "expansionist impulse"? No one is stopping other editors from chiming in or making edits, regardless if you and I are still in dispute on any given point. Thanks for removing the tag. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:24, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Kahan used the term "expansionist impulse" for Grant explained on pages 75-76. I have no reason to disagree. I don't think Chernow and Kahan are in disagreement per say. Grant lobbied Senators including Sumner. I would call that pro-active. Portraying yourself who you want to be is not the same as who you actually are. I don't want to go into endless arguementation. Grant wanted to prepare for war. Annexing Santo Domingo was a way of doing that. Grant believed correctly America would become the envy of the nations. Cmguy777 (talk) 22:35, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Grant didn't portray himself here, Chernow did, and explained it in full, i.e.Grant wanting a safe haven, and a stable US port in the Caribbean – ideas already in the works before he was president. To go so far as to say Grant had an obsession, or "impluse", as an "expansionist" is misleading, bordering on falsehood, to say the least, esp for a young and often naive readership. Currently, the section states only the facts, and stays away from opinionated and subjective labels. Between you and I, and the other editors who also contributed here, the section looks fine, and no longer provokes content disputes. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:24, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

New book, 2019[edit]

A new book about Grant, by Donald L. Miller (Simon and Schuster, Oct. 2019) is slated for release on October 29: Vicksburg: Grant's Campaign That Broke the Confederacy. Hopefully there will be a review that tells us what this book has to offer that previous such works have not, if indeed it does so. Simon and Schuster has a review, however, it's more of a generic promotional piece than an unbiased review. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:55, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

Book is now available on eBay. Some of books are up for bidding, starting around $10 - a chance to beat the $28 (and higher) regular purchase price . -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:39, 7 November 2019 (UTC)

Confederate nationalism[edit]

* Shifting Grounds: Nationalism and the American South, 1848-1865, Paul Quigley (2011), New York: Oxford University Press Cmguy777 (talk) 16:52, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

I think the standard work is Drew Gilpin Faust's The Creation of Confederate Nationalism. Yes, it existed, but no, this is not the place to debate it. Why not split the difference and say "...the vestiges of secession and slavery." ? --Coemgenus (talk) 16:32, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
There was infact a Confederate nation-state or republic from 1861 to 1865. The British gave the Confederacy ships to fight the North ie Alabama Claims that Grant settled. The Confederacy had a Consititution; Congress; President; Capital. It even had an army that did terrible damage to the Northern Army. Remember General Robert E. Lee. The Southerners did not accept blacks (former slaves) citizens after the war and were hostile to blacks, although racism was prominent in the North. Whites took over the governments in the South. We are not here to debate the subject, but the term "Confederate nationalism" is used by Faust. Why was there seccession ? Answer: Confederate nationalism. Cmguy777 (talk) 16:51, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
I used the term "Southern nationalism" in the lede to replace "Confederate nationalism" previously used. Cmguy777 (talk) 17:50, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
I think that's worse! Why not just say "secession" or "separatism"? --Coemgenus (talk) 18:41, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
The Confederacy, that ended in 1865 was an actual functioning government. It was nationalism. Did any nothern states suceed from the Union ? The South remained after the Confederacy failed or was defeated. The most accurate wording would be white nationalism. I feel politics is getting into this conversation. Making the Confederacy a sucession movement, rather than a nationalist movement to preserve slavery. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:58, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
I hope we can work together. I removed "Southern". I got more to the point. There was national racism and the vestiges of slavery during Reconstruction. Neither the South or Confederacy is mentioned. Racism was national, not just the South. Feel free to make improvements. The term "national" could be replaced by "sectional". Cmguy777 (talk) 20:16, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
I removed the term "national". Neither national, Confederate nationalism, nor Southern nationalism is mentioned in the lede. Cmguy777 (talk) 20:20, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
I added: "secessionism". Cmguy777 (talk) 23:32, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
'Confederate Nationalism' is an oxymoron, as the rebels sought to divide the 'nation', the likes of which Washington, Jefferson, et al, praised by both the north and south, sacrificed to establish. Secessionism was abolished after the Civil War. Once again, we seem to be attempting to improve the mouse trap. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 05:45, 21 October 2019 (UTC)
The Confederacy had a Constitution and President, etc... It had an army and very limited navy. It had unofficial recognition from Great Britain and Her Majesty Queen Victoria. On July 9, 1868 the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified. The freedmen were citizens before Grant took office. From July 1, 1863 to July 9, 1868 time period would be appropriate to call blacks freemen. After July 9, 1868 black men were citizens. Cmguy777 (talk) 22:33, 21 October 2019 (UTC)
The above links would imply that the Confederacy or Confederate Nationalism was more than just an idea, an "oxymoron", or hyperbole. It was in fact a nation or a mirror national-state in rebellion against the United States. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:24, 21 October 2019 (UTC)

Then the term is academically redundant. The Confederacy was an off shoot, a split, from the nation of which it was formed. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 04:48, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

The links are evidence the Confederacy was a nation, not an off shoot, or a split. The Confederacy even had the Confederate States Congress. The Confederacy was a mirror nation of the United States. Cmguy777 (talk) 07:17, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
We seem to be in agreement regardless of the terms we prefer. "Off shoot", or "a minor nation of the U.S.". -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:08, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

Slaves v African Americans[edit]

The (divisive) term, 'African American', is not exactly neutral, regardless of media attempts to make the term common place. Blacks are Americans, period, more so than many others at this late date – no different than Italians, Poles and Irish who don't hyphenate their national identity, btw. It was not a term used during the time in question. Blacks were largely viewed by the south as former slaves, not "African Americans", a term invented by latter day white politicians, prodded by activists in front of the press, and a term many (most?) Blacks are not exactly comfortable with. A term used today mostly by Whites. Any discrimination was aimed at former slaves. Before and after the Civil War most common folk whites, esp Christians, the greater populace, objected to slavery, even in the south. Woman's church groups in the south frequently marched against slavery. i.e. A reality that mad at the world activists and the 'Friends of America' crowd would rather sweep under the historical rug. We should refer to Blacks, in this instance, in terms of what the prejudice was actually aimed at. 'Former slaves'. WP should not be sugar coated in this regard because of a largely naive and (media) stigmatized readership, or because of various individuals who simply refuse to see the greater perspective. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 04:48, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

Please leave politics out of the discussion. This is pushing the envelope. Now editors can't use the term "African American" in the article. Don't force politics on other editors or into the talk page. After the Fourteenth Amendment passed the freedmen were citizens. But racism was against blacks for their race, not for being former slaves, in both the North and South. That is why African American is neutral and appropriate for the article. Segregation was because of the color of their skin, not because they were former slaves. The Fourteenth Amendment applied to all blacks who were born after slavery. Involuntary servitude was abolished, except for any persons convicted of felonies. Racism is against a race, not a former condition of servitude. Cmguy777 (talk) 07:06, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
  • It was and is my intention to keep politics out of the article on that note by using a historically appropriate term for the time. i.e.Former slaves. You pushed politics when you reverted my edit and re-added African America, with a link. And now, you're reciting the 14th Amendment, but of course are keeping politics out of the discussion. (?) Politics is the basic fabric of most the sections, save those about battles perhaps. Last, while keeping racism and prejudice in check, the main objective of reconstruction was to bring the south back into the fold of the Union, which is not mentioned in the lede. Instead we have your socio-political modern-day statement with its focus on African Americans and racism in the first paragraph of the lede of the Grant biography, again, without a word about the main objective of reconstruction .– National unity. Reconstruction is mentioned even before Grant's childhood and family in the lede. Aside from due weight concerns, the lede begs the neutrality tag, but I'm willing to work on a compromise alternative here. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:41, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I moved the sentence about Reconstruction and African Americans to a more appropriate place in the lede, combining it with the paragraph about Grant's presidency, keeping the wording as you left it, for the time being. The main focus of Reconstruction still needs to be highlighted in that statement. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:58, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
Please stop with the "former slave" phraseology. The term for them is freedmen, we do not need a longer description. As for discrimination, are you claiming that Free Negroes were not subject to discrimination during Reconstruction? Dimadick (talk) 21:16, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict)  Actually, Freedmen is even better. We can pipe link it to African American. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:26, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
The original edit said African Americans. It was changed to former slaves. I have no issues calling the former slaves or freedmen up until July 9, 1868, afterwards the "former slaves" or "freedmen" were naturalized citizens. When Grant was elected in 1869, blacks were citizens of the United States. The neutrality issue is the Fourteenth Amendment. We can't say blacks are former slaves without saying blacks were citizens on July 9, 1868. Let's not sweep the 14 under the historical rug. It's was a constitutional law. The racism of Reconstruction was against African Americans. This could be a compromise: "...racism against freedmen, made citizens, by the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868." Cmguy777 (talk) 21:20, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
It was the 13th Amendment.  In any case political details like this are and should be mentioned in the body of the text, not in the lede. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:31, 22 October 2019 (UTC)


  • Here is the existing sentence:

During the Reconstruction Era, President Grant led the Republicans in their efforts to remove the vestiges of slavery, and racism against African Americans.

  • Here's an alternative:

During the Reconstruction Era, President Grant led the Republicans in their efforts to bring the southern states back into the Union and remove the vestiges of slavery, and racism against African Freedmen.

-- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:27, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

Due weight issues[edit]

@Cmguy777: Grant's main legacy is his victory over the Confederacy, not his failed reconstruction efforts. Your edit, once again, failed to mention the main objective of Reconstruction. Please stop the edit warring so we can come up with the best alternative and hopefully reach a consensus. The statement in question does not belong in the first paragraph of the lede. And now you're dragging citizenship and dates into the lede. You say you want to keep politics out, but look at your focus, right in the middle of a discussion over a compromise approach. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:43, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

Smith, Brands, White, Chernow, Calhoun focus on Grant's fight against racism during Reconstruction, just as important as the Civil War. Grant's reputation has improved because of more focus on fighting racism during his presidency. That is why it belongs in the first paragraph. Cmguy777 (talk) 21:57, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
Are you saying Gwillhickers that African Americans are not citizens of the United States ? Cmguy777 (talk) 21:58, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
I used your term "African freedmen". I removed information on African American citizenship. But the sentence belongs in the first paragraph. Cmguy777 (talk) 22:10, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
Regardless if some historians have improved on Grant's ratings, Grant's failed efforts at reconstruction don't belong in the first paragraph of the lede. You still didn't mention the main objective of reconstruction either, so I added that. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:11, 22 October 2019 (UTC)


We should take a survey among past contributors, and anyone else who would like to chime in.
@Cmguy777, Coemgenus, Alanscottwalker, Rjensen, TheVirginiaHistorian, Dimadick, and Billmckern: Re:Due weight issue: Help is needed in resolving an issue. — Does the below statement belong in the first paragraph of the lede, or in the third lede paragraph which covers Grant's presidency?:

  • During the Reconstruction Era, President Grant led the Republicans in their efforts to reunite the Southern states with the Union and remove the vestiges of slavery and racism against African freedmen.
    (Please indicate 1st or 3rd)
  • 3rd -- Grant's noble but failed efforts at Reconstruction deserve mention in a (3rd lede) paragraph about his presidency, not in the opening paragraph of the lede. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:11, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
  • 1st -- The sentence was in the first paragraph before it was moved to the third paragraph. Reconstruction followed the Civil War. Grant was President during Reconstruction. So it is appropriate to mention this information after the Civil War. There is no need to demote Grant's prosecution of the Klan, successful. The Election of 1872 was fair and successful. Smith, Brands, White, Chernow, Calhoun all discuss Grant and Civil Rights. This article should not demote an already embattled President by historians. "Noble but failed efforts" exhibits a bias of a certain editor imposed on this article. Editor bias should stay out of the lede. It also hides the racism imposed on blacks and white Republicans during Reconstruction. Let's leave politics out of the lede and go by the concensus of what the sources say. Calhoun said of the KKK Act, that Grant signed on April 20, 1871, the "law represented and extraodinary expansion of national executive authority to defend individuals' constitutional rights." (page 319) The sentence belongs in the first paragraph. Reconstruction is just as important as the Civil War. Cmguy777 (talk) 00:33, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Reconstruction by all means should be mentioned, but again it was generally a failed effort, and only one chapter in Grant's presidency. Real reconstruction and civil rights victories took many years to materialize, long after Grant was gone. No bias there. That's the simple truth, and it isn't what Grant is famous for. By mentioning this in the third paragraph we are still putting it after mention of the Civil War. Placing it in the 1st paragraph lumps it in with his Civil War Victory and places it even before coverage of Grant's childhood and family. This is Grant's biography. Items concerning Grant's world wide fame belong in the first paragraph. i.e.Victory in the Civil War, and two terms as president. Selected details about the presidency go elsewhere. Yes, historians cover Reconstruction, but not nearly in the same capacity as they do Grant's victory in the Civil War. All biographies start out with coverage of Grant's childhood and military service, through the Civil War. None of them start off by putting a spot light on reconstruction in the opening language, as you're doing by covering this in the first paragraph in the lede. We should cover subjects in the same manner, and with the same weight, that the sources do. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:05, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Grant did not "lead" the Republican effort to support blacks--the key leaders were Thaddeus Stevens (died 1868) & Charles Sumner, whom Grant destroyed. The leading specialist is Charles Calhoun (2017) who says Grant's first term was marked by benign neglect. "Benign neglect produced malignant results in the South. Violence and intimidation had a telling impact in several states....The lesson of the 1870 election was clear: without adequate federal action blacks’ right to vote remained in jeopardy and the Republican Party’s prospects in the region were dim.... Grant conceded that after nearly two years this major goal of his domestic program remained far from fulfilled." [Calhoun pp 106-7] The second term showed many reverses as well. Calhoun says in the summer of 1874, "despite the administration’s conciliatory overtures, conservative whites grew increasingly defiant. Indeed, Grant’s seeming reluctance to intervene may have emboldened them." [Calhoun p 458] The bottom line, in my opinion, is that Blacks were worse off when Grant left office in 1877 compared to when he was inaugurated in 1869. Rjensen (talk) 01:24, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Agree with Rjensen. I'm wondering if Reconstruction should be mentioned at all in the lede, esp in light of the error that has been pointed out. Grant tried to help, but he certainly did not lead the Republican effort, and he certainly was not famous for failed reconstruction. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:33, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
To say Reconstruction is not as important as the Civil War is biased. Calhoun devotes a whole chapter (4) to Reconstruction pages 95 to 107. Smith, Brands, White, and Chernow cover reconstruction/Reconstruction in their respected biographies. "In appointing Akerman and Bristow, Grant chose men committed to the legal protection for African Americans in the South." (Calhoun, page 106) Chernow called the Civil Rights Act of 1875 "revolutionary in its principles of equal treatment for all." (Chernow, page 795). Let's not ignore Grant's accomplishments while President, as his critics did. Grant felt alone in his battle to defeat racism against blacks. Grant's prosecution of the Klan is what has raised his reputation among historians. Once Akerman was in charge, the Justice Department was used to defeat the Klan. That was a success, maybe too successful. Remember Grant received criticism for going after racist whites. He did too much too little. Let's just say what he did. Reconstruction failed because conservative whites did not accept blacks were citizens. Grant did. Cmguy777 (talk) 01:59, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Chapter 4 and Chapter 18 of Calhoun cover Reconstruction and it should be kept in the lede. Cmguy777 (talk) 02:12, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes I strongly agree with Cmguy777 I will add a sentence on the KKK. Rjensen (talk) 02:15, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Rjensen. Cmguy777 (talk) 02:19, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Congress did pass the civil rights law of 1875 (it was primarily written by Charles Sumner), however Calhoun is pessimistic about it. He states on p 479 a) Grant did not make it a legislative priority; b) “the impact of the law was slight” because federal judges immediately emasculated it c) It provided little protection for blacks. d) the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in 1883 Rjensen (talk) 02:43, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Chernow said the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was revolutionary. It is what Grant did. How is slight defined ? Did it help anyone ? It was legal until 1883 so it was in effect from 1875 to 1888, a period that extended beyond Grant's life. It was an effort to give blacks equality. Conservative judges and a conervative Supreme Court defeated it. It shows that Grant tried to reconcile with the Sumner. Cmguy777 (talk) 03:05, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 is a noteworthy political detail in Grant's presidency, but it doesn't compare to his Civil War victory in terms of a lede statement in the first paragraph. No one is disputing that Grant's heart was in the right place regarding reconstruction and civil rights for Blacks. The question remains, that, is coverage about Reconstruction due in the opening paragraph, of the lede, in the Grant Biography, even before mention of his childhood, and family? We still have a statement in the lede, the first paragraph, that Grant led (?) the Republicans in the reconstruction effort, right along side mention of his world famous efforts at winning the Civil War and preserving and stabilizing the Union, which benefited all races. The last edits are welcomed, but we still need to resolve the lede, due weight, issue. Now that we have Rjensen's last edits in the closing paragraph of the lede, we should remove the somewhat erroneous statement in the opening language, the 1st paragraph in the lede. This is a due weight issue. None of the sources treat this with the same weight in their prefaces and opening chapters of their biographies. Not only do we say what the sources say, but we ascribe the same weight to the issues as they do. The 1st paragraph needs to be fixed in that regard, esp since the last edits nail the idea of Grant and Reconstruction quite well. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 03:29, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
I think people at the time and historians every since see the 1875 law as a symbolic honor for the dead senator Sumner but it was of near-zero effect. Biographer White never mentions the law. Grant had very little to do with the 1875 law--except he did sign it. His judges & Justice dept did not enforce it. Chernow says the goal was revolutionary but adds it was "toothless." Chernow exaggerates white "fear" by citing one anonymous hate letter [note 102 p 795---but gives no scholarly sources. That's the typical problem with Chernow--clever anonymous quotes but he does not cite or use the published scholarship. For that better use Calhoun. Rjensen (talk) 03:48, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Rjensen. As a history buff, I am once again reminded of how much more there is to learn. Cmguy777, we should let Doctor Rjensen make the call here. Should the statement in question remain in the first paragraph of the lede, or be modified and incorporated into the lede (third) paragraph about Grant's presidency? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 03:52, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Suggestion for lede: As head of the army during President Johnson’s term (1865-69) he sided with the Radical Republicans in Congress which used the army to give civil rights and political power to the freedmen. As president he used his new Justice Department to try to suppress violence against blacks. He used his army to prop up Republican state governments in the South, but they all collapsed. In foreign policy he settled major disputes with Britain and tried and failed to annex the Dominican Republic. Rjensen (talk) 04:39, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
3rd -- That would make Reconstruction chronological within Grant's career. He's best known for the Civil War, so having that in the first paragraph makes sense. He's lesser known for Reconstruction, which is still important enough to be included, so in my view, including it after the Civil War within the third paragraph. In addition, Grant wasn't the only leader of Reconstruction and the efforts of the Republicans who did lead it, including Grant, were ultimately unsuccessful. As an example, I recently worked on the article for Marshall H. Twitchell. Many of his family and his African American political supporters in Louisiana were killed during the Coushatta massacre (1874) and Twitchell himself was the target of an assassination attempt (1876) -- both during Grant's term as president. Billmckern (talk) 04:21, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
@Billmckern:, Thanks for your insightful input. Indeed, Grant is not widely known for his efforts in Reconstruction, even if he was due this notoriety in certain aspects. — @Rjensen: Your submission presents quite a lot of coverage for the lede, esp for the first paragraph there, if that was what you were proposing. I'm hoping we can resolve what should be stated in the first paragraph of the lede in the Grant Biography. Everything of what you've presented is welcomed in the Biography, imo - The first paragraph of the lede, however, should be presented in the same manner, and priority, of which this subject, Grant, the person, is treated in virtually all the Grant Biographies, again, imo. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 05:18, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
I reject this notion of somehow making Grant the "Robert E. Lee" of the North and his Presidency did not amount to much. The article needs to note Grant's accomplishments and failures while President and be neutral. Grant did not retire after the Civil War, he served under Johnson, as Rjensen mentioned. Grant was elected President twice. He was popular. Grant's presidency was modern; he wanted justice for blacks and Indians; he established Yellowstone, he aided women's rights, he established the Surgeon General, and the preceptor to the Weather Bureau. Other Union Generals fought in the war: Sherman, Meade, Sheridan, George Thomas; and Oliver Howard. Don't forget it was Lincoln and Johnson who promoted Grant. They have some responsibility for Grant's success in the military. It was Lincoln who did not fire Grant after Grant purged Jewish people from his district. This is not a Civil War article. It is a presidency article. His two year Presidency should get the primary focus. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:53, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Grant saving the Union is the primary focus, not his efforts at Reconstruction. Yet, no one said Grant's presidency didn't amount to much. He opened the door to national unity after a war that split the Union, deeply. Was Grant elected twice because of his sympathies to reconstruction? Hardly. It was his efforts in saving the Union. Repeat: Saving the Union. Even you said racism was present in the North and South. Again, this business needs to be treated in the same priority as all the source cover the topic. Putting this stuff in the first paragraph of the lede is historically and academically without basis in terms of historical due weight, and not in line with how all the sources, past and present, treat this topic. Please come to terms with this and not digress any further. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 06:18, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Grant did not "save" the Union. Lincoln gets that honor. The war was decided before Grant took overall command in March 1864. As to importance--I counted pages in bios by White, Brands and Chernow. They are quite similar: they devote 41% of their text to Civil War and 31% to Reconstruction--I think that's a useful target for us. Rjensen (talk) 07:08, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Certainly the Civil War and Grant are interchangable and highly signifigant. But this is a Presidential article and should focus on his presidency. Let's not turn Grant into a "Confederate" war hero to be worshipped. Cmguy777 (talk) 08:03, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Rjensen — It was Grant who defeated the Confederacy in the west and the one who brought Lee to the surrender table, so in that context, Grant saved the Union. There's even a book out entitled "The Man who Saved the Union", by H. W. Brands, 2012. Certainly Grant couldn't have done it via his own command, but still he was and is widely considered the one to win the war and save the Union.
  • Cmguy777 — This is not the Grant President's article. It's 'the' Grant biography, so please don't assume that we should "focus" on Grant's presidency in this article, esp the lede, as you have done. Currently the lede gives more coverage to his presidency than the war. This needs to be corrected. Lets not assume. also, that other editors are trying to do a "hero worship" number on the article and try to have a little more faith in the discussions. Grant is famous for his Civil War victories, by far, and this is what won him the presidency. You wouldn't get that by reading the lede the way it has been handled. President Grant was more of a figure head who largely depended on Fish and others for advice. As you should know, Grant was often duped and taken advantage of, coming and going. Grant was among the most honest of presidents, but he certainly wasn't among the best statesmen. He assumed the presidency with great reluctance. Also, the word tour  is  was mentioned in two different paragraphs in the lede -- and in the opening paragraph in the lede, and after all that was discussed about this paragraph. This is getting a little reckless. So overall, we still have another mess and due weight issues to clean up in the lede. This survey was set up to decide how the first paragraph should read, and as usual, you ignore discussions and went off and edited as you pleased regardless. This survey is not over, and you have no consensus for the way the 1st paragraph still reads, not to mention your idea that this is the Presidency article. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:01, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Last I checked Grant was the Eighteenth President of the United States. Therefore this is a presidential article. When you type in : Eighteenth President of the United States in the search column you get Grant. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:14, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
I had removed the word "racism" from the first paragraph. I had thought that was an appropriate edit. I had replace that word with the phrase: "justice for African freedmen..." I had thought better context. I read discussions. I make edits based on what I read and what I believe is appropriate. Editors can edit at anytime in the article regardless of a "survey". Please stop ordering me around like a lackey. At least I am editing to make improvements, not just endless arguementation in the talk pages. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:29, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, Grant was the 18th president, but that doesn't make this the Presidential article, regardless if the redirect takes one here. There wouldn't be half the argumentation if you didn't make such claims. We have a dedicated article for Grant's Presidency. This article isn't it. That redirect needs to be fixed, btw. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:57, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
I should know. I started that article: Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant (January 12, 2010) . That is a presidential article that focuses on his Grant's presidency. Cmguy777 (talk) 00:29, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
This is the main Grant biography, where all important aspects of Grant's life are covered in the order of due weight. Grant is famous for his Civil War victories, far more than his presidency. If this is the "presidential article", why did you start the Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant article? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 02:11, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
Gwillhickers. Every article on Grant is a presidential article because Grant was President. Are you saying Grant was not President ? The President can overule generals and give Executive orders. It is the highest office of the land. This is Grant's presidential biography. Oh yeah. I started Ulysses S. Grant and the American Civil War article on December 18, 2010. Please stop treating me like a subordinate editor. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:18, 24 October 2019 (UTC)

Nonsense. It's like you're saying that every article on Grant is about the Civil War because Grant was a general in that war. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:04, 25 October 2019 (UTC)

Please don't force your opinions on me. This conversation is going nowhere. We should go onto to other things. Drop the stick. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:36, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
This is an article on Ulysses Grant, the man. It should be a reasonable survey of his life, without an undue focus on any part of it. Rjensen's rough guide to weight seems like a good one to me. --Coemgenus (talk) 12:33, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Coemgenus, I agree, this is an article about Grant, the man. i.e.A biography. That this sort of thing has to be recited for some individuals is sort of disappointing. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:57, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Cmguy777, you were the one who said this is a presidential article and went so far as to say Grant's presidency should be our focus, in an apparent effort to justify your selective treatment of the 1st lede paragraph, per Reconstruction. No one forces anything on anyone around here. Please refrain from making accusations in the future. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:57, 25 October 2019 (UTC)

Introduction rewrite[edit]

I did a lede rewrite focusing on chronology, as suggested, and Grant's presidency. This is a presidential article. I also trimmed the bloated narration. I felt there were too many cooks in the kitchen so I made changes in good faith what I believed would improve the article. Cmguy777 (talk) 07:15, 23 October 2019 (UTC)

This is not a presidential article, and it's not very encouraging to hear you make such an erroneous claim, esp when there is a dedicated Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant article, as you should know at this late date. Grant is not world famous because of his tour, yet you had that stuck in the 1st paragraph of the lede. We have at least two editors who want the 1st lede paragraph changed, and with good reason, as was explained more than once for you. No one else but yourself has said otherwise. To avoid an edit war, and risk the stability of the article, I'll not make major changes, for now at least. Would you please fix the lede and give the topics the same weight as the sources do in their opening language? Thanx. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:23, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Fix the lede ? I don't have to agree with your criticisms. You are more than welcome to make changes. My edits are not set in stone. There is a method to my madness. I am all for editors making improvements to my edits. I said in the lede that Grant was the first President to travel around the world. Please check the history of the references. I don't recall saying he was famous for the tour. I can check. This was a first for a retired President. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:08, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Please don't blame me for something I did not do. Here was what I had edited : "In his retirement from office, Grant was the first president to circumnavigate the world meeting with many foreign dignitaries." Cmguy777 (talk) 23:10, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Eighteenth President of the United States This link goes directly to Grant. His article is one of an officeholder. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:13, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
I think the lede looks much better. The second paragraph is a bit wordy, possibly could be reduced. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:17, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
@Cmguy777: - If you did not mention the world tour in the 1st paragraph I apologize for saying you did. The lede is better. I still think the details about Grant's presidency, the only detail mentioned, in the opening lede paragraph, is inappropriate, but I can live with it. Don't want to force an edit with just a marginal consensus. If we get a clear consensus, we can take it from there. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:54, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
I mentioned the world tour in the first paragraph, but did not mention that it made Grant famous. Cmguy777 (talk) 00:30, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
The opening paragraph, to the lede, should be basic, covering DOB, etc, while also covering only those items that made Grant famous. We don't even mention the surrender at Appomattox in the first lede paragraph, an event that made Grant world famous, yet you want to mention one detail about Grant's presidency, one out of many, and one that didn't even amount to much. As Rjensen pointed out for us, Blacks were worse off when Grant finished his terms, of no fault of Grant's, btw, just for the record. Saying that "Grant's presidency made efforts to remove the vestiges of slavery...etc", while an admirable effort, isn't something that belongs in the first paragraph of the lede in the Grant biography. It was a failed effort. None of the Grant biographers put that detail up front in their biographies. If you insist that this statement should remain in the first lede paragraph, we should be honest to our readers and mention that it was a failed effort. Rjensen has added words to this effect, but I still have reservations that this belongs in the opening lede paragraph. I had hoped that such coverage would have been more appropriate in the third paragraph, --in the lede-- devoted to Grant's presidency. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 02:21, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
the average time a reader spends on Wikipedia is measured in seconds--so I think many people read the opening lede or just its opening few sentences. Therefore I added more basic info on war & presidency, with the rest covered in the rest of the lede and of course the long article as a whole. Rjensen (talk) 06:28, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Rjensen. The 1 paragraph looks great in the lede. The 2 paragraph is at 261 words. Can it be reduced to under 200 words ? That would help readability ease. It is not the content under dispute, but is their a way to say the same thing with less words for paragraph 2 ? Cmguy777 (talk) 07:03, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
The article should be written for the intelligent reader who is interested in the subject, not for the readers with a grade schooler's attention span. Those individuals can stop reading any time they please if the article happens to tax their mental capacity too much. 1000's of college students read WP's history articles every day, and are looking for information. They should be our primary concern – not those who are only going to spends "seconds" on the page amusing themselves. Having said that, additions about the Civil War are of course welcomed, but the 1st paragraph is disproportionately committed to Reconstruction with some redundancy and secondary details there. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 00:43, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
I will try to catch up with this discussion. But first, let me quote from MOS:LEAD:
The lead section (also known as the lead or introduction) of a Wikipedia article is the section before the table of contents and the first heading. The lead serves as an introduction to the article and a summary of its most important contents. It is not a news-style lead or "lede" paragraph.
So, I will refrain from using the word "lede". Bruce leverett (talk) 16:41, 25 October 2019 (UTC)


My apologies to Dimadick -- We were editing simultaneously and I think I deleted some of his good material. Rjensen (talk) 08:18, 23 October 2019 (UTC)

and I'm done for today--- I think the discussion on this pages been very useful for me at least.Rjensen (talk) 08:24, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for your contributions and for clearing a few things up, even though I sort of disagree on one point, Grant saving the Union. At least we don't say that in the article. If you're still of mind, we'd like to hear from you about what belongs in the 1st paragraph of the lede. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:34, 23 October 2019 (UTC)

More about lead paragraphs[edit]

User:Gwillhickers: I will try to cover two (or even three) topics here, but if you prefer, we could use separate subsections.

Grant's horsemanship does not belong in the lead paragraphs because it is not what makes him notable (I am using "notable" in the sense it is used in MOS:LEAD and other places). If Grant had not won the Civil War and gotten elected president, no one would remember his horsemanship. His horsemanship was an important factor in his success in the military, as all our sources acknowledge; so we follow our sources and acknowledge that in the article. But this is not material for the lead paragraphs.

In the article about George Washington, the lead paragraphs do not mention his horsemanship. In fact, that lead section sets a standard to which I would like the lead paragraphs of Ulysses S. Grant to adhere. It is short. It does not waste words. Yet, it hits all the things for which Washington is considered notable. If a reader just wants to find out who Washington was, or just wants to find out what all the fuss is about Washington, he can just read the lead paragraphs, and his few-minute sojourn with Wikipedia will be well spent. If, on the other hand, he wants to read a real biography, it's there in the rest of the article. Moreover, the lead section is in chronological order, except for the items in the last paragraph, which do not fit neatly into a chronology. It summarizes the principal source of difficulty in evaluating Washington (slavery), while leaving the real discussion to the rest of the article, and staying neutral. As you can see, our lead section in Ulysses S. Grant has a way to go to pass any of the above tests. But I see that you guys have been working on it, and I'm glad for that.

Now to "considerably, over the years". It is normal for biographers of a person to disagree about assessments of him, and in many cases we do not have to mention that. But in Grant's case, I will go along with mentioning it. From the fact that we are mentioning it, the reader may reasonably infer that the disagreement is worth mentioning, or, to repeat a phrase, notable. Beyond that, the adverb "considerably" adds nothing. Moreover, the claim that the variation is "considerable" is unsourced and unverifiable; it is only a judgment on the part of the editor. Judgments by editors are, as you know, frowned upon in Wikipedia. As to the phrase "over the years", it is about as uninteresting as "considerable" (biographers of Grant have been disagreeing with each other since at least when Grant died). If I may say so without insulting anybody, these two modifiers are just flaccid prose.

BTW, I have had second thoughts about an unrelated edit where I undid your edit. You added some text to, in effect, explain why we were using the word "nevertheless" in describing Julia's reception in the Grant family. It is true, as I pointed out, that some text two sentences previous explained that, but two sentences is probably too far away. Because a sentence has been inserted about who was at the wedding, and Longstreet being Julia's cousin, the word "nevertheless", as you understood, has become unclear. Re-reading that, I think that it would be OK to just remove that word. Bruce leverett (talk) 23:47, 26 October 2019 (UTC)

Bruce, I agree, horsemanship is an odd tangent for the lede. No one, asked for a brief summary of Grant's life, would mention it. --Coemgenus (talk) 04:06, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Coemgenus — I have to disagree here. Grant and his associations and involvements with horses is exceptional, and is present throughout his life, covered by almost all of Grant's biographers. It's hardly tangential to his life and merits a brief mention in the lede –in an article about Grant, the man. It's an idea which is carried further in various sections of the article. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 04:14, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Bruce leverett —If the lede in the Washington article doesn't mention Washington's horsemanship with at least a phrase, it should. Grant's associations with horses is mentioned by nearly all of Grant's biographers, and with more than just passing reasons. All I can ask is that you read the entire article here and see how Grant and horses, beginning at childhood, is hand-in-glove with his life's story. Some time ago the lot of us here were discussing how we should entitle an article about Ulysses S. Grant and horses. Imo, it's one item that depicts Grant's childhood, foremost, as well as defining his career in the military, beginning with the Mexican-American War. Some day soon, I hope to launch such an article. – Plenty of sources to go by. During the Civil War Grant was given horses as gifts, because of his noted love and ability with horses. Seems we could squeeze a word in about that overall idea in the lede. If anything, it exemplifies that Grant was more than just a general and a president. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 04:02, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
There needs to be more information on Grant's early life in Ohio. Horses were part of everyone's life back then, just like cars are to us today. I am not a against saying Grant was an equestrian and he worked for his father. Did Grant work on a farm ? The horse whispering or taming, does not need to be mentioned. His horsemanship probably saved his life in the Mexican American War. Maybe just Grant was an equestrian at an early age. Maybe, "Grant was raised and educated in Ohio, and an equestrian." Cmguy777 (talk) 06:47, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
All that need be said here is that Grant, beginning in his youth, possessed an exceptional ability to manage and ride horses. This would cover training, working and performing with horses, as he did in his youth. At age 12 he was riding teams of horses to Cincinnati and back, carrying passengers. At an even younger age he was driving horse drawn wagons filled with bark many miles, from the forests to his father's tannery. At times the townspeople would gather and watch the young Ulysses do stunts on a horses bare back. He set a high jump record at West Point that stood for 25 years. In the military, he was noted for his amazing feats on horses during battle, in both the Mexican and Civil Wars. As we know, horses were not just some ordinary part of his life, and he was much more than just another good rider, the details of which are covered in the article. There is only one statement in the lede about Grant's youth, and saying he was raised in Ohio and had a natural yen for horses, imo, would more than suffice, and sets the theme for Grant and horses in the article. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:31, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
Since you are a chess player, I will mention that Bobby Fischer is another article in which the leading section was edited to an admirable quality. My fingerprints are on that article, but I can take little or no credit for the lead paragraphs, which were already good before my time. I have not touched the article about George Washington; it got that way because Wikipedia loves it, apparently more so than Ulysses S. Grant, I suppose.
The lead paragraphs of George Washington don't even mention his wife. It gave me pause to realize this. But I guess it takes discipline to write a good lead section.
MOS:LEAD says that the average Wikipedia visit is a few minutes. This doesn't mean we're writing for people with short attention spans. We're writing for people who have careers and families and other silly activities that take time away from what they should be doing, which is, of course, reading Wikipedia. Intelligence is not the issue -- I am fairly intelligent, but when I am not actually working on an article (in which case I might spend hours looking at it), my average visit is just a few minutes. Lead sections are important -- more important than our own favorite subtopics. Bruce leverett (talk) 02:44, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it's important to keep it tight for all of those reasons. But, like the rest of the article (which is now over the agreed-upon limit of 100k of readable prose) these things grow when each person tinkers to add his favorite subjects. It's hard to see how any of the edits of the past four years have improved the lede from this version, which passed FA review in 2015. Some of the edits to the article body since then have made sense, owing to the new scholarship and changing impressions of Grant, but the summary of his life has not changed. --Coemgenus (talk) 20:41, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
It was thought-provoking to look at the March 2015 version and to realize that it passed FA review. From counting pages in the edit history, I can see that this article has been much more heavily edited than my own favorite article, Bobby Fischer, in that interval. But it was quite a presentable article back then.
To what "agreed-upon limit" are you referring? Is this something in the WP: or MOS: pages? I see that the official character count is at about 204K; this may be compared with the count of about 217K at Bobby Fischer. Since the latter is a pretty mature page, I found that while I could reduce the bloat level to some degree, I didn't feel that I had the freedom to cut out whole topics. Of course, the main article doesn't have nearly such a hard requirement for conciseness as the lead paragraphs.
I haven't yet looked hard at the main article on Ulysses S. Grant. I should note that my present collection of biographies consists of just two, Grant's memoirs (which in many cases cannot be used as a WP:RS because they are autobiographical) and the biography by Perret (which even I recognize is somewhat more opinionated than I would like); so until I go out and buy at least one other, I will have to be pretty circumspect about editing the main article. Bruce leverett (talk) 00:56, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
No one has answered my question: what 100k limit? Can anyone cite chapter and verse? This is obviously something I should be clear about before I get too deep into this. I have been editing for more than 3 years and never heard of such a limit. Bruce leverett (talk)
See, WP:TOOBIG and WP:RPS. Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:59, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
Thank you!! Clearly I should have read this long ago! So, Bobby Fischer is 217K bytes, but Prose only 79K, while Ulysses S. Grant is 204K bytes, but Prose close to 104K. A very interesting result! By and by, when I am done being the Angel of Death in the lead section, I will turn my attention to the main article.

A featured article, which requires good and "engaging" writing, shouldn't be too tight. The intelligent reader interested in the subject welcomes length. Cmguy777 is calling for more coverage of Grant's early life, to which I agree, per the Grant biography, i.e."Grant the man". I've never been a robotic slave to page length guide lines. I don't recall agreeing about a rigid 100k limit, though I've gone along so long as it didn't diminish the important context of the narrative. When it comes to improving the article, WP was gracious enough to give editors the WP:IAR clause. At one point, the article was way over 100k readable prose, and out of many page watchers and 1000's of readers (almost) no one even blinked. I've always maintained, that so long as the article is not redundant and obviously tangential, length is not an issue unless a given individual attempts to make it so. We are 2k over the guideline limit. Okay, where do we start chopping away to remove the 2k? Here we go again, for the '10th' time? It's unfortunate that this sometimes garners more attention than content issues, per the largely neglected last survey. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 04:58, 29 October 2019 (UTC)

I want more clarification on Grant's early years, particular horses. He should be called an equestrian in the introduction section. Was he a horse breaker, horse whisperer, horse trainer. He always wanted to tame and ride the strong willed horses. The first paragraph in the introduction is information repetitive. Maybe paragraph 1 can be trimmed. 05:05, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
The term Equestrian isn't necessary in the short phrase in the lede, though I've no strong feelings about its use. The important consideration is that this topic is not presented, all (the many) things considered, as some trivial characteristic about Grant, the boy and the man. In any case, I'm wondering when we can leave the article as it is, more or less. We've been at it for years. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 05:12, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
We are in agreement. The term "equestrian" takes away the triviality of Grant and horses. I am not sure why you oppose the term. He was a fierce horserider. He liked the wild horses and apparently could ride them with skill. It takes Grant seriously. So should this article. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:28, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
Who isn't taking things seriously? I said I've no strong feelings about the term. Content determines significance. Not a particular term. Add the (official?) term if you feel it makes any difference, but again, the subject isn't "trivial", regardless of the terms we use. Grant and his love and involvement with horses is by no means trivial in terms of Grant the boy and the man, and the Grant biography. No choice of terms can change that. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 05:41, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
The term equestrian is fine, but the sentence became something of a B-class statement in our Featured Article. We need to say something more than 'raised in Ohio', so the river is mentioned, at least. Both Grant's childhood homes were near the river, so this sets the context of his home environment. Also, the term equestrian pertains to riding horses, and in particular, doing stunts and exhibitions, it doesn't cover the management (training and working with) horses. Grant's ability with horses was exceptional, and encompassed more than that of the average equestrian, and dealing with dominant horses, a detail, which needs to be made clear. His ability served him in a number of capacities, both civilian and military. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:48, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
Gwillhickers. It is not that he just loved horses. He loved the untamable horses, he wanted to control them, and thurough breds. We need to be more specific. In War he allowed horses to be slaughtered to gain victory at Palo Duro Canyon, while he was President. He controlled stubborn horses and road fearlessly. We can't forget Grant was a general and desired to win. That is why he set aside their (horses) slaughter at Palo Duro Canyon. It is complicated because he punished a soldier for beating a mule or horse during the Civil War. Cmguy777 (talk) 04:20, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

The lede sentence should be general. You've returned it to mean that his ability only helped him with stubborn horses, overlooking his entire civilian and military careers. You also are only saying he had "equestrian ability" without making it clear that his ability was exceptional, far above average. As for "loved", many of the sources say this. Obviously "loved" is used in the context of horses, not in the same capacity that he loved his wife and children. Grant also 'loved' the soldiers under his command, yet sent them into battle knowing many would die. We should leave the statement in general terms and say what the sources say. The first sentence in the source you provided says Grant was probably the best equestrian in U.S. history, (exceptional) and loved horses. White, 2016 says Grant loved horses, and explains it on p.18. Chernow, 2017, p. 11 doesn't use the word 'love', but he goes one better, explaining that Grant would become furious if he saw someone mistreating a horse, as you also pointed out above in a different instance. We are employing the term, equestrian as you wanted, and we can simply say "near the Ohio river", per your edit, but the statement needs to be clear on his exceptional ability and love for horses and that it helped him throughout both his civilian and military life. This best describes the man in terms of horses in general. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:52, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

Actually, we need to specify Ohio, not just the Ohio River, as it runs along several different states. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:10, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
My original edit was: "Raised in Ohio,". We don't need to specify the Ohio River. Grant was exceptional because he rode stubborn horses. He fearlessly road them. I have made solid , though under-appreciated, editing contributions. Please be respectful in the talk page. At least you looked up my source I provided. This article is suppose to be neutral. We can't put Grant loved horses when he allowed over 1,000 of them to be slaughtered at Palo Duro Canyon while he was President in 1874. In many ways Grant was complicated. Grant was a pragmatist General and President. We can put he loved to ride rogue horses, and loved thoroughbreds. That is true. He had an incident where he punished someone, while he was in the military, for beating a horse. But that begs the question why did he allow over 1,000 horses slaughtered at Palo Duro Canyon. Cmguy777 (talk) 20:15, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

We've been over all of this. We want to keep the lede statement general, yet having a bit of context. Once again, we mention the Ohio river because simply saying "raised in Ohio" doesn't depict the homestead environment and doesn't do a featured article much justice. In fact, we may want to say something more about Grant's childhood in the lede altogether – his childhood is an entire chapter in his life. Seems we can say something more than "raised in Ohio". Once again, Grant was exceptional with horses all the way around, in his riding, managing, doing amazing stunts on horses when he was a young boy, not to mention some of his military feats. Managing stubborn horses, one detail, not covered in the main text, hardly gives us the general picture. We can put that Grant loved horses regardless of your interpretation of Palo Duro. You might want to try answering your own question, why did Grant allow it. This was addressed. i.e.He allowed his men to be killed in battle also -- this wouldn't negate any love he held for them. We can say that Grant loved horses simply because multiple sources say he did. However, I'll tone it down a notch on that note and say Grant had a passion for horses. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:19, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

By the way, Chernow does not mention the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon. I could not find it in his book or the index. Grant had passions for thoroughbreds and wild horses, not horses in general. Cmguy777 (talk) 00:54, 31 October 2019 (UTC)
Sorry. Multiple sources, including the one you brought to the table, say Grant loved horses. What sources says he loved only thoroughbreds and wild horses, with no affection for all the others, including the ones he grew up with? Grant's first horse, as a boy, was not a thoroughbred, or a wild horse, a horse that slowly grew blind, and a horse Grant cared for until its end. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 03:24, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

Palo Duro[edit]

The horses in question at the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon belonged to the Comanche Indians during the Indian war. Commander MacKenzie, who gave the order to kill the horses realized that he could fight the Comanche to the end of time and still not win. The horses at first were captured, but then later 1000 out of the 1200 were destroyed, and brought a speedy end to the war. It was a war. Allowing the Comanche to have their horses would have resulted in a prolonged war costing many more human lives, on both sides. Grant, thousands of miles away, didn't realize what had happened until news finally reached them. Implying that Grant didn't really love horses because of MacKenzie's tough decision is sort of reaching. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:55, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

Three hundred of the horses were stolen and over 1,000 were slaughtered. Was Grant thrown in outrage at Mackenzie for the slaughter and horse theft and court martialled. No. MacKenzie was one of Grant's favorites, possibly under-rated soldiers. Chernow does not mention Palo Duro Canyon in his book. Why ? I am not questioning Chernow, but mentioning this slaughter would negate Grant's "love" of horses. One would think this important enough to mention in a biography. It was unmentioned in his book, from what I found. Nothing in his index on the battle. I have no issues with Grant "loving" top of the line thoroughbreds and spirited horses. Did Grant love the Buffalo when those animals were slaughtered almost to extinction? Let's not read to much into the General. But then Grant signed legistlation to protect baby seals and Yellowstone, that protected buffalo from being poached. It's complicated to accurately project people's motivations. Cmguy777 (talk) 02:57, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

"Stolen"? The horses were captured during a war. Yes, Chernow doesn't mention Palo Duro. What would you like this to amount to? Again, Grant did not know the details of the battle until sometime later. Again, horses were expendable when it came to ending a war that would cost many more human lives. Horses were killed throughout that war and the Civil War, as were humans. Grant loved them both. Unless there is some pressing content issue, contrary to the sources, it would be best if we just moved on. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 03:31, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

I am just addressing the reality of Palo Duro Canyon. I am not against saying Grant "loved" thoroughbreds and spirited horses. That is irrefutable. I would just limit it to that. I am also saying Grant was complicated. As a miltary officer, he punished someone for beating a horse. Yet he did not blink when 1,000 horses were slaughtered. Is captured another way for saying stolen ? Let's keep focused on Grant. Just say "Grant admired thoroughbreds and spirited horses." I am not "saving-face". I believe Palo Duro Canyon is signifigant since so many horses were butchered during Grant's second term. Cmguy777 (talk) 04:10, 31 October 2019 (UTC)
Grant wasn't aware of it, and I think we can assume that the loss of all those horses stuck his heart, but not near as much as the loss of human life. Grant loved horses. Unless there's more than one source that says otherwise, in no uncertain terms, we need to move on. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 04:15, 31 October 2019 (UTC)
The problem is that none of Grant's biographers, including Calhoun's Presidential biography, discuss the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon or the slaughter of over 1,000 horses. Nothing is noted in Smith, Brands, White, Calhoun, Chernow, McFeely. This battle was a Grant victory. There maybe a few books that discuss the battle itself. Machenzie used total warfare on the Indians. Cmguy777 (talk) 21:11, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

Grant's youth[edit]

As this is Grant's biography, I added a statement in the lede about Grant's general character, supported by many sources. As said, his youth is an entire chapter in his life, so we should say something else besides his being raised in Ohio by the river. We can qualify this further with a sentence or two in the body of the text, but first it seems we should discuss this further. Plenty of sources to go by. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 03:35, 1 November 2019 (UTC)

The second paragraph in the introduction is 253 words. That is difficult for the reader to read comfortably. It is bloated. I think there is unfounded information about Grant having a benevolent character from his mother. Now we are getting in to DNA ? Do Genes Influence Personality? Michael W Kraus Ph.D. (Jul 11, 2013) Neither Grant, Father, or Mother were genetically tested. There is no proof Grant inherited his personality from his mother. Yes. Personality is related to genetics. True. We are surmising the Grant's mother was benevolent and patient while his father Jesse was neither. It was his father who went out of his way to get Grant into West Point. Jesse was proud of Grant for riding a rogue horse at a carnival fair and winning $5.00. Let's drop the DNA personality theories. Interesting. But it is speculation. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:16, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Looking at the biographies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Napoleon Bonaparte, I would say that mentioning the subject's youth in the lead section is optional. The lead sections of Washington and Jefferson both start in their adulthood. The lead section of Lincoln has a single sentence about his childhood, and likewise for the lead section about Napoleon. It is easy to understand these two. Who isn't intrigued by Lincoln's rags-to-riches story? And, it's also interesting that Napoleon was born on an island, not even part of mainland France. Even so, they each only get a single short sentence.
What you have so far for Grant's youth is two sentences, and they need some work. I don't think his general character is interesting enough to appear in the lead paragraphs. (Do you have another biography in mind, where the lead section talks about the subject's character at a comparable point?) I think that if you wrote about his equestrian achievements in the right way, it could serve as an enticement for the reader to look for more about that topic in the main article; but it would have to be tightly written and snappy -- perhaps not even a whole sentence, just a clause you could add to some later sentence. Bruce leverett (talk) 13:38, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
The "good nature" part of Grant from his mother is derived from Waugh and Bunting. It is speculation, not verified by DNA testing, by two historians. It does not belong in the lede section. It is also said that Grant's mother was cold and uncaring, not an affectionate mother. Personality and genetics are related, but how can Waugh and Bunting be verified without DNA testing of Grant, Jesse, and Hanna ? Waugh and Bunting are reliable sources, but this type of speculation does not belong in a bloated introduction paragraph 2. Cmguy777 (talk) 16:02, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Because this is a biography, about the person, the subject's character gets top priority and merits some coverage in the lede. It's a topic that points completely and entirely at 'the' person. A statement about Grant's general character will carry through in the rest of the narrative. DNA: Two children with the same parents, with the same basic DNA, can have very different personalities. None of the sources, and I'm assuming most psychologists, don't hold up DNA, as anything significant in forming one's character. Grant's mother was not uncaring, she was reserved when it came to showing signs of affection. She was kind, unpretentious, gracious, never gossiped and was devoutly religious. Seems that's a basic recipe for being a good mother. Grant's father, Jesse, otoh, was loud, often cantankerous and acutely opinionated -- completely different from Grant, who was, like his mother, reserved, unpretentious, etc. In any case, the lede doesn't present the idea as fact, and is only reflecting why two RS are saying. If we have to dig further on what should be sort of straight forward, I'm sure the other main biographers will have to say something about Grant's character. Also, anyone with average intelligence shouldn't have trouble digesting 235 words. In any case, I split paragraph two, as it covered two topics. Childhood and military. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:00, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
It's a non sequitur to say that "because this is a biography … the subject's character gets top priority and merits some coverage in the [lead section]." Most of our Wiki biographies do not, in fact, discuss their subjects' "character" in the lead paragraphs. When this article qualified for FA, it didn't. Above, I have linked to four other biographies that are more normal for Wikipedia. I don't understand why you insist on making this biography an outlier. Bruce leverett (talk) 18:54, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
I have no objection to information on Grant's personal character, but to throw in genetics, such as Grant inherited patience and calmness from his mother, is speculation that does not belong in the introduction. Neither Waugh nor Bunting are experts on DNA. I gave a link on DNA and personal characteristics authored by an M.D. This article is not on Jesse nor Hannah. It is on Grant the individual. Cmguy777 (talk) 18:12, 1 November 2019 (UTC)

The article isn't about Fish, yet he is covered. The article isn't about Robert E. Lee, but he is mentioned, in the lede, etc, etc. Grant's parents can be mentioned when making comparisons in character. Yes, we don't bother with DNA. All we are doing is relating the comparisons made by historians. I reworded the statement, saying only that Grant resembled his mother's character. This idea will be picked up in the text. Jesse was opinionated, Hannah was quiet and reserved, like Grant. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:19, 1 November 2019 (UTC)

  • Chernow p.7, makes the same comparison, referring to Grant as emotionally blocked, not out spoken like his father. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:29, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Grant resembled his mother's character ? That really is another way of saying he genetically inherited calmness and patience from Hannah. Genetics and personality are controversial and speculative subject. Let's not go their in the introduction. We can say that Grant was calm and patient, but that is not true. He was livid at Sumner for the Senate rejection his Santo Domingo treaty. He was livid at Custer for the defeat at Little Big Horn. He was livid at Bristow for his investigation into Babcock. Grant was Grant. Let's just accept him for who he was without bringing in his mother's and his father's personalities, or lack thereof. Cmguy777 (talk) 18:31, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
We can say Grant was "emotionally blocked" but let's leave his parents out of it. Cmguy777 (talk) 18:35, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
No viable reason has been presented as to why we should not mention parents like other biographers do. Making a comparison in characters is not anything about genetics. We are merely saying what the sources are saying, regardless if they got their information from Mars, and we don't present the idea as absolute fact. Once again, children with the same parents can have different personalities. That all by itself throws the DNA theory out the window. Man is a social creature, largely a product of his social environment. Other things can factor in, like deaths in the family, and other acts of God, but overall, character is the product of upbringing and prevailing circumstances. Let's see what the other sources say. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:51, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Speculation of Grant's character or comparison of Grant's character to his parents character does not belong in the introduction. We should leave DNA out of this article, but once you bring in parents you bring in DNA. It also affects the neutrality of this article. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:08, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Cmguy777, no viable reason has been presented as to why we should not mention parents like other biographers do. Making a comparison in characters is not anything about genetics. DNA is your speculation. We are merely saying what the sources are saying, regardless if they got their information from Mars, and we don't present the idea as absolute fact. Once again, children with the same parents can have different personalities. That all by itself throws the DNA theory out the window. Man is a social creature, largely a product of his social environment. Other things can factor in, like deaths in the family, and other acts of God, but overall, character is the product of upbringing and prevailing circumstances. Let's see what the other sources say. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:51, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Bruce, many things weren't mentioned when the article became a FA. Biographies are about 'the' person. If other articles don't mention character in the lede, they should, esp when there are plenty of sources that do so. Will look into other sources. We're not advancing anything unusual here. At this point I am flexible about removing the comparison to parents, but let's look a little further. - Gwillhickers (talk) 19:15, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Oh, so the editors of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Napoleon, etc., are wrong, and you, sir, are right. Well excuse me for intruding. I was hoping to join another Wikipedia crowd by editing Grant, and to have as much fun as I had editing chess, but it would be a better use of my time to move elsewhere. Bruce leverett (talk) 19:40, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Cmguy777, once again you're digressing to edit warring in the middle of the discussion before any sort of clear consensus has been established. We say what the sources say, regardless of your personal opinion about genetics, etc. For now I removed the statement in question. However, a concern was expressed about a long second paragraph, so this has been split, again, per the two different topics involved. Mentioned the tannery. We need to say soemthing more about Grant's childhood in the lede other than being raised.-- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:15, 1 November 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia's US Grant article: Unstable, and forever growing[edit]

Just to help Bruce leverett or any other new editor who comes along to this article. The editing history of this article since this was made a Featured Article in 2015 suggests that this article will not at any-time reasonable, be stable, and it will continue and continue to grow in length.

Although, editors should be aware that multiple RS biographies have been written on Grant, multiple RS biographies have been written about other people, too. Nonetheless, perhaps unique among all Wikipedia article subjects, who are also people who have multiple RS biographies written about them, Wikipedia's Grant article looks like it is aiming to be the longest Wikipedia article ever, as well as the longest encyclopedia article ever in the world. This state of affairs has and will inevitably result in this article never being stable. In many ways, it is inexplicable, but just have an idea what you are walking into. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:20, 1 November 2019 (UTC)

For the sake of article stability, I initiated a discussion, but my single edit was reverted twice anyways. As for the article growing in size, take a look at the edit history over the last month or so, and see where the major additions were made, and by whom. Last, article size is only an issue when someone decides to make it an issue. We agreed on a 100k limit, which I've gone along with, however, I try not get carried away should we go over a line, esp when guidelines allows for exceptions for exceptional articles. You seem to be caring on as if the article is at 120k. We are at 102k. This alarmist notice has only aggravated stability. What do you propose, that we start chopping away, all over again? Hardly a plan for stability. We were having a debate about a statement in the lede. Now this. Thanx-- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:40, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Of course one remedy is good editing down - that is what good editors do - but this has all been gone over before multiple times with objections to the ever growing length and the length still manages to go up and up over time. Stability is not just editing over others, which is inevitable as long as content is added, it is the frequent adding of content itself, which means there is apparent no Wikipedia editor consensus on what a really good U.S. Grant encyclopedia article is. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:51, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
The history of the article since FA indicates that it has been the private kingdom of two editors the whole four and a half years. What is discouraging to me is that I don't know when it will end. When I started editing Bobby Fischer, the editor who had made it his private kingdom for several years had retired, and so, with the assistance of quite a few other knowledgeable editors, I was able to do fulfilling work and do some good. I don't know when the private kingdom era is going to be over for Grant. It's too bad, because the two biographies that I own have made me interested in the subject. But there are lots of fish in the sea. Thanks for your assistance. Bruce leverett (talk) 19:57, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Yes. The problem, Bruce, is that editors accepted the consensus on certain issues in the past, but not in good faith. Instead, the same old fights are introduced again and again and most other editors--myself included--have moved on and found places on the encyclopedia where they can actually improve things. Adding 18kb of prose--nearly 3000 words!--to a featured article when new developments in scholarship justify, at most, one-tenth that amount is an incredible waste of effort that has in no way improved the article. As Alan said, above, good editing is very often removing words, not adding them. If you want to work with me to make this article better and more concise, I will join you, although my time on here is more limited than it was in 2015 owing to real-life concerns. --Coemgenus (talk) 20:11, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
ASW, yes we've been down this road before, so you should know where it goes -- in a circle, with the size going up and down, over and again. We are at 102k. We can chip away at it again and get it at or below 100k, but then what? Lock the article down? We've been over this. This is the inherent problem when one tries to rigidly enforce page length guidelines.
Bruce, you don't help matters by accusing two editors of owning the article. No one is stopping anyone from coming aboard and making edits. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:23, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Coemgenus, there is no pressing need to get a or below 100k, but as usual, I will go along with this ever repeating circumstance. The question still remains, what do we do when the article gets at or below 100k? Who is going to stand over the article and tell other editors that can't contribute? Who is going to decided how we play musical chairs with the narrative? These are the questions that have always been ignored. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:23, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
The musical chairs with the narrative is instability, itself, I'll repeat, there is no Wikipedia editor consensus on what a really good Grant article is, otherwise people would be fine with it, but people are not fine with it, so it keeps changing. For example, as you have conveyed over and over, you reject and attempt to ignore the well established position of other editors who think this topic is best served by summary style in keeping with tertiary purpose and editing guidelines, which is further demonstration lack of consensus. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:16, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
I don't own this article. There was push on Grant's personal character, related to his parent(s), put into the introduction, now at 6 paragraphs. My version in Paragraph 2 had removed this push and I had gotten the introduction back to 5 paragraphs. White, Chernow, Calhoun, and Kahan have been published, or conincided with, after FA was completed and published on Wikipedia. My editing has concerned the neutrality of the article. I agree the narration is bloated, even in the introduction of the article. All article paragraphs should be under 200 words. I believe that would reduce the prose and get the article back to 100K, the compromise number. Jesse Grant and Hannah Grant have their own articles. Let's not push Grant's character or imply that Grant's personality he got from his mother. It gets into genetics. Personality is connected to genetics, but that goes beyond the scope of the article. Just put in Grant's personality without mentioning his parents. I don't want a revovling door of editing. The introduction seems to to be the focus right now. It should be reduced. Not expanded. Cmguy777 (talk) 22:11, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
  • ASW, yes, "The musical chairs with the narrative is instability, itself". Thank you. After all that was said and done, however, no one has said what we do if we bring the article back down to 100k. Editors can't make contributions without removing other prose if we are to maintain this rigid 100k level. Once again, we will have to remove text to get back down to this 100k line in the sand. This after much text has been added by Rjensen, Cmguy777 and myself. Musical chairs. There is no way around that and we can't continue ignoring that reality. Trying to maintain the 100k level is what has made the article unstable and is the cause of this perpetual debate. Ignoring the 'exception' and 'editor discretion' clauses allowed for all guidelines has also. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:32, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Cmguy777, we can say Grant's character more resembles his mother's because that's what the sources say. Even if character was a biological DNA affair, which has been disproven, i.e.two children from the same parents can have completely different characters, we still say what the sources say. Period. As Coemgenus recently said, this article is about Grant, the man. Rjensen once said we should concentrate more on Grant's associations with people. But not his parents? Leaving out 'character', parents, etc, esp in a biography, is ridiculous. You need to stop trying to invent rules about covering the character of a subject, and leave the unfounded notions about DNA out of the debate. None of the sources mention DNA or genetics. Psychologists roundly agree that upbringing, or lack of it, is primarily responsible for character. Not biology. We say what the sources say, whether you agree with them or not. If there are conflicting accounts from sources, that is another matter entirely. None of them say Grant got his character because of DNA. All that was said is that Grant's character more resembled that of his mother, which, btw, is obvious to anyone half familiar with Grant and his family. Grant was quiet, unpretentious and reserved. So was his mother. His father was outspoken, loud and overly opinionated. By all accounts. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:32, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
I cited an article that says there maybe DNA sequences that make up character in a person. Historians are not scientists. We just don't want to go the hereditary route in this article. But to say Grant got this trait from his mom but he did not get this trait from his father, is to close to saying DNA was involved. This is not a fiction book nor pop psychology. Are any of the biographers of Grant psychiatrists ? Why go there ? It just adds speculation to the already over narrated article. Grant could get angry like his father. Now you are saying Grant was his mother. We can say Grant was quiet, unpretentious, and reserved. But please don't compare him to his mother. Grant was Grant. He was neither his father or his mother. He was Grant. As far as narration goes, the paragraphs should be under 200 words or less. It is possible to say more with less words. That is the art of history writing. This article needs more on Grant and less on psychology of personality. Cmguy777 (talk) 02:55, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
  • You say leave psychology out of it, then hand us this. More on Grant? Yet you want to suppress any associations he had with the people that brought him up. i.e.His parents. Sounds like you're just arguing, once again. Btw, personality and character are two different things. Character pertains to doing what's right and wrong, etc. Personality can pertain to things that have nothing to do with character. Loud, hyper active, goofy, etc. In any case, none of this goes into the narrative -- we say only what the sources say. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 03:18, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
  • We can say what the sources say, no "pop psychology" involved. Please stop trying to make up rules. Also, where is it written that a given paragraph should be under 200 words? We're not writing for grade schoolers. Please stop trying to make up rules. The "art of history writing" involves words. Sometimes many are required, sometimes not. There is no rule there. There was not many words involved in the first place, only that Grant 'resembled' his mother in terms of character. We are not saying she is soley responsible. Please stop trying to make up unfounded rules. Again, we cover Grant and his association with people, esp his parents. There is no rule, or reason, that says we can't. Otoh, there is a rule about saying what the sources say. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 03:18, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
The article is overwritten. It needs to be reduced. The source I provided said extraversion was genetic. You said Grant was quiet like his mother. That would mean Grant did not get the extraversion genes from his father. You said his father was outspoken. Only you Gwillhickers want to expand the article that needs to be reduced. You are going against the grain. It is not needed to put personality into the introduction section. Why is there a need to push this ? You expanded the introduction to 6 paragraphs. An FA article should be 5 paragraphs, One can say more with less words. The 200 word limit in a paragraph is for two reasons: readability; and to reduce the narration in article. All of this is common sense. I am not a perfect editor. I don't claim to be. But I want what is best for the Grant article. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:18, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

Insert : You and I were in the process of debating one sentence in the lede, so I don't really appreciate it when you jump to another track and drag article size into the picture in the same breath, accusing me of wanting to expand the article esp since you have made plenty of contributions in the last couple of months. Look at your own edit history for this article. You add to the article far more than you delete, so kindly knock off the finger pointing. Also, you are still trying to push one of your invented rules. Good writing isn't contingent on a paragraph word count i.e.200 words. This is determined by the subject and the details involved. This is an article about Grant, the man, yet you feel mention of his character, the essence of the man, in the lede is out of order or "not necessary". That's absurd. Last, you tell us that "We can't ignore new sources, especially White, Chernow, and Calhoun." and then you turn around here and complain to me about "expanding" the article. Don't know how you expect to carry on a discussion when we constantly get 'YES we have NO bananas' from you at every turn. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:11, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

Coemgenus. Respectfully, for the record, I do not recall ever having participated in the FA discussion for this article. I don't recall ever being invited. Please don't infer that my edits were in bad faith. New information, research, and perspective, will and should change an FA article for the better. We can't ignore new sources, especially White, Chernow, and Calhoun. I am in agreement the article needs to be reduced. I think the introduction had become literarily stagnant and needed to be changed. I do not favor a six paragraph introduction. My policy of 200 word paragraph would reduce the article size. Say more with less words should be this article's montra. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:40, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
  • No It's not the people who want a good summary article that cause instability, it's the continued adding to it, which is also the cause of its continued bloat, as it inexorably grows and grows. Either come to terms with other editors opinions that you are not serving this article well by adding and not editing, or it will remain bloated, as well as unstable. Because a fair summary of the editing history goes 'we need to add' and the adding is done, regardless of objection, and then rinse and repeat, except now the next adding is done to an already bloated article, and the next time to a more bloated article, and the next time to a even more bloated article, and it just continues and continues and continues to bloat in its instability. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 09:14, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
I have to disagree with that analysis It's not the contributions that make an unstable article, esp since guidelines allows exceptions for exceptional articles. The instability occurs when you plaster head lines on the talk page and start the process of removing text to satisfy a guideline number. This will be the '10th' time this has occurred, and after it does, editors come back and begin adding text all over again. I keep asking what is to be expected when the article is back down to 100k, but this question is routinely ignored. Instead we get lectures about instability and the so called problem repeats itself. Also, it's not so much the size, it's the constant rewording, and I'm not talking about tweaks and occasional edits. Treating the article like one's personal sketch pad on a daily basis is the biggest factor to instability. And so the question remains: what do we do if we reduce the prose to 100k? Lock the article down? Play musical chairs, removing some text to allow for new material? Still no answer. If we can't provide a solution to this ever reoccurring 'problem' then we are only fanning the flames of instability, once again. Got solutions? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:46, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
No. Changes to the talk page are not article instability. I have said what the solutions are, let people edit it down so it is no longer bloated and is instead is actually a well written article (my first choice is @Coemgenus:, who got the article to FAC), and determine that the article is good, so that it is not continuously in claimed need of being added to. All of the things that would have prevented this article from becoming Featured in the FAC review have come to pass, it's over-length and its instability. I am chagrined that I actually contributed to that review by trying to assure someone the article is stable, it is not, and the history of the ever increasing additions shows it. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:48, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

I wasn't referring to changes in the Talk page. And you're still avoiding the question. What happens when we "edit down" the article to 100k. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:04, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

Then why did you refer to talk page sections. I have not avoided the question, the instability stems from no agreement on what the article should contain, thus it is constantly being added to. When people as a group are satisfied with the article, it has a real chance of being well written and stable. It is not now, otherwise it would not keep being added to and changing.
-- Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:15, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

Where have I referred to Talk page sections in terms of 'article' stability? And yes, you have avoided the question. How do we treat the article now that it's at 100k. No more contributions? Musical chairs? Locking horns like this isn't going to help matters. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 06:26, 3 November 2019 (UTC)

The article should reflect modern research. I am for the 100k limit. New research can replace older research, not just adding more information. And then there is the narration technique of saying more with less words. This article can't cover everything. Books are authored on Grant that cover additional information and detail. Cmguy777 (talk) 18:49, 4 November 2019 (UTC)


Cmguy777 and myself just got the prose down to 100k? Now what? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:01, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

The accretions have been going on for five years, so it's hardly fair to ask people to jump to it, especially while there is no agreement on moving forward, and past agreements have been ignored and dispensed with. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:06, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
Several editors have made contributions during the last month or so. One editor added significantly to the prose. It's not fair to treat a guideline like a policy, and then continue to offer no solutions when you treat it as one when editors exceed that line in the sand by making good faith contributions. I ask again, now that you've identified this problem of adding text, and we're down to 100k where do we go from here? No more contributions? Musical chairs? If you're going to insist on a rigid line in the sand, you're not accomplishing anything by offering no plan to keep from going past it. That is the inherent flaw with this rigid allegiance to a guideline number. As soon as we accept the 'exception' clause allowed for all guidelines, for exceptional articles, the problem disappears. No, this doesn't mean we start dumping text back into the prose. We would just adapt the idea that we keep the prose from being redundant, not tangential or overly wordy, and abide by consensus anytime something is added. This way, article size will seek its own level. No? Okay, who do we appoint for being the page length cop for this article? Will you be the one to say to a contributor that he or she can't add information until we remove other information first? Until you square off with that prospect, it will only be a matter of time before we go full circle and come back to the same table all over again. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:22, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
Stability evidences itself, when everyone is satisfied they will not want constant additions. 100K is not a fixed floor, it is evidence of too much. I know I would begin with considering Bruce's ideas and Coemgenus has some, and I would suggest that the naming section could use streamlining for a start. The article after all the additions over the years could still use a good streamlining copy edit preferably by a single editor. That's often how articles are readied for review. (Also, if we edit down and someone comes along and convinces others of more of something that makes it all the easier). Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:49, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
100K should be the maximum per compromise. Good editing, saying more by saying less, could get the article lower. It will take the help of all editors, but there needs to be agreement, that the article needs to be reduced. Content can be discussed after the article is reduced. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:25, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
Per Alan's suggestion, I would glad to take a pass at it over the next week, if the editors are amenable. --Coemgenus (talk) 23:52, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
I will still stay out of this, but I am impressed that you guys are trying to work together. Best of luck. Bruce leverett (talk) 02:15, 3 November 2019 (UTC)
I don't object to Coemgenus going over the article or making improvements. The narration needs work. Other areas of work, imo, are the introduction, Grant's presidency, and historical evalutation. I think the Civil War section has remained fairly stable. The time between Grant's presidency and the Civil War probably needs work, especially his break with Johnson. There were several Indian wars during Grant's interim generalship including: Powder River Expedition, Black Hawk War, and the Comanche campaign. The article focuses on Reconstruction, but nothing on the Indian Wars. Just a few suggestions. Thanks. Cmguy777 (talk) 02:52, 3 November 2019 (UTC)
Your comment about the Indian wars prompted me to look at the pages about Rutherford B. Hayes and Chester A. Arthur, as well as that about Ulysses S. Grant. All of these have multi-paragraph sections about the subject's Indian (or "Native American") policy, and the section in Grant's article starts with a link to a "main article", Native American policy of the Ulysses S. Grant administration. If there are subtopics that are not addressed to your satisfaction, would it be adequate to add more discussion of them to that other article? Bruce leverett (talk) 15:31, 3 November 2019 (UTC)

Improvements are welcomed by anyone. Sometimes, however, more information is needed, esp with new sources ever emerging. Grant was not some passing general in the Civil War. He was 'the' general. He was present in the Mexican War, and after the Civil War, and after dealing with Johnson, became a two term president. This icon, if I may, of American history deserves the best coverage possible. We are writing for history students and Civil War history buffs, not the readers of tabloid magazines. Along with the Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln articles, the Grant article should be among the biggest of them all. Perhaps bigger, as Grant saved the nation from falling into disarray while the foreign jackals and foreign banks were waiting for the chance to exploit the situation with their distorted propaganda. A great article to this effect should be something we should be proud of. It's unfortunate that some of us are more concerned with a guide line number. If the lot of us agreed on that note no one would ever challenge our solid consensus - a consensus of major contributors. No one ever has. The only objections over exceeding page length guidelines have never come from anyone else except a couple of us. No one. We still have a musical chairs issue to deal with, 'if' we subscribe to a rigid guide line number. Will we be back at this same table some months from now with the same issue, or will we realize that we can't squeeze a size ten narrative into a size six shoe if we're to be historically comprehensive? Again, now that we're at 100k, now what? All I'm seeing is touchy-feely words about improving the article, and only in a capacity of diminishing the narrative, all the while I'm hearing concern about not ignoring the new sources. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 05:23, 3 November 2019 (UTC)

Gwillhickers. Adding more information makes the article bulky and bloated, but what is clear, you don't want to follow the 100k guidelines. Why ? That is going against the grain. It creates anymosity in the talk pages and in editing the article. When everyone follows the guidelines then people work together. I don't think you are purposely causing dissention, you have a right to your own opinions. Adding more information causes dissention in the article. Now what ? Why not be satisfied with a 100k limit. Improvements are welcome by "anyone" yes. There is no central editor in this article. My goal is neutrality and improving article narration without adding more information. Improve the information that is already in the article. Focus on Grant's accomplishments. That is what is next. I tell it like it is. I don't use "touchy-feely" words. But a little bit of diplomacy can mend fences. Cmguy777 (talk) 08:13, 3 November 2019 (UTC)
Going against the grain? I just helped to get the article back to 100k. My thoughts about guidelines are valid. The rigid adherence to one guideline, while others are ignored has caused the instability, as is evidenced on this Talk page. The article has gone months at or slightly above 100k with no issues. Stable, until someone comes along and makes an issue of it. Also, would you please kindly curb your words about "bloat"? We are talking about the contribution of several knowledgeable editors, including yourself. Cavalieringly referring to it as bloat is spitting at their efforts. We have added and deleted text over and again because of a guideline, and you, sir, are no less responsible for the additions in text than several of us.
Once again, now that we're at 100k, what do we do? Stop adding content and context? Stand over other editors and tell them not to make contributions until we remove other text? This will be the '10th' time this question has been avoided, which only exemplifies the inherent flaw of blindly following a guideline, ignoring the exception clause. Now that we're at 100k, what is your plan, sir? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:47, 3 November 2019 (UTC)
I appreciate, Gwillhickers, for getting the article back to 100k. Here is my plan: Say more with less words and get each paragraph under 200 words. So let's say the article gets to 95k. Alright, then you have room 5K to make additions with the 100K cap. That way you can add content without breaking the guidelines. Editors are happy. Add the most important content. Grant is an embattled president by historians. This article should mention Grant's successes while President. The articles has this content to a certain extent. Bloating means adding content without regard to the 100k guideline. What other guidelines have been broken ? Cmguy777 (talk) 01:21, 4 November 2019 (UTC)

It seems you're trying to advance invented rules again. Someone could come along and add something profound to the article, yet if it exceeded the 100k barb-wire, it would be "bloat"? Also, please drop this arbitrary 200 word limit for paragraphs. We're writing for the intelligent student, or history buff. You're only adding to the eggshells that we're walking on. Paragraph and Article size should seek it's own limit, per content and sources. As long as the narrative is not redundant, tangential, or in error, there shouldn't be any issues. Yet we have them. The article is stable until someone comes along and makes a royal issue of a guideline. There's a reason why WP made a set of 'Policies' and 'Guidelines'. There's also a reason why WP gives us the discretion to WP:IAR. Article improvement. Chernow came out with a biography that exceeded 1000 pages. Was it a "bloated" publication simply because of the number of pages? Yes, let's try to say more with less, but we can only reduce the grammar so much, as we've been doing for years. If someone comes along and adds e.g. 300k of good material, several sentences, that would force us to do a lot of condensing. Or it would require that we resort to the musical chairs routine, removing text to allow for other. Embracing the 'exception' clause allowed for guidelines, reasonably, per no redundancy, etc, would eliminate this slippery sloop we've been on for too long. It would be nice to see all the energy expended on this issue spent on spot checking citations/sources and looking through the latest sources you expressed a concern for. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 04:20, 4 November 2019 (UTC)

Isn't expanding over the guideline making up a rule ? What I gave were my opinions for what is best for the article. Not rules. You had ask me for a plan. I gave one. A 300k addition to the article would cause the article to be split. Remember this a summary article. Readers can read books for more information. This is not a book. There is no royal issue. It is just common sense to keep an article within reading attention of the average reader or to keep paragraphs under 200 words. Readers don't like large pargraphs. I believe under 200 word paragraphs keep the reader's attention. My plan was not a set of rules. Just a suggested plan. We are going around in circles. Making the article over 100k creates dissention among the editors. So I suggest the article be kept at 100k or below between 95k and 100k. What is hurting this article the most is dissention among editors. Let's work together. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:10, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
I had not known of the 100K guideline until ASW pointed me to WP:TOOBIG. I guess that, in the past 3+ years of editing, I had never done serious work with an article this large; not even Bobby Fischer, which I thought was pretty large because it had 600+ footnotes. But now, I see that the major Presidential biographies are hovering near the limit:
George Washington 198K total size, 98K prose
Thomas Jefferson 192K total size, 90K prose
Abraham Lincoln 171K total size, 83K prose
Ulysses S. Grant 203K total size, 103K prose
Dwight D. Eisenhower 214K total size, 99K prose
I'll venture a guess that it is not a coincidence that these articles are all close to 100K prose; that is, that editors have noticed the boundary and striven to keep the articles under it. No matter that the boundary must be rather arbitrary; but there it is.
The main advice I found in WP:TOOBIG is to split the article. This has been done to some degree with the Grant article; most sections start with a link to a separate article in which we go into more depth. (I notice, however, that the section on Reconstruction does not. Maybe it would be worthwhile to start a new article "Ulysses S. Grant and Reconstruction", and drain some of the detail from that section into the separate article.)
Separate articles by themselves are not necessarily going to keep the main article under the limit. What has to happen is that the main article must look less like a stand-alone monograph, and more like an encyclopedia article. Your comparison with Chernow's 1000-page book is apt. We can't go to 1000 pages. Even to get down to where we are, from 1000 pages, 99% has been thrown overboard. What's left is a mere summary. To get it down further, from 103K to 100K (and a litte further to leave some wiggle room), does not fundamentally change what has already been done.
What about the future? But this is an article about history. No matter that historians find new material, or new approaches to understanding old material, Grant still only lived one (eventful) life. An article based on, say, Chernow, might be expected to be better than an article based on an older biography, such as, say, McFeely; but it wouldn't be expected to be much longer (or shorter). As new insights are added, the older misconceptions that they replace can be removed. Bruce leverett (talk) 05:19, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
I believe incorporation of any new material or perspective by Chernow is appropriate for the article. All Grant biographies should be used in the article. Yes. Newer views of Grant can replace older views or any misconceptions of Grant. Possibly other articles on Grant could be created to help keep Grant at 100k or below. Cmguy777 (talk) 17:32, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Cmguy777, exceeding a guideline isn't making up a rule, it's ignoring one. That you have to resort to wild stretches only exemplifies the failure inherent in rigidly subscribing to a guideline. If you can find an "out dated" or an otherwise error in the narrative we replace it. That's not the issue. Concern is this repeated removal of text, by, in your case, the same people who add text, because of a guideline. Again and again. And you're still avoiding the big question. Now that we're at 100k, will you allow other editors to make contributions without removing other text first? And looking at you're last edits, I seen you're still added text, while you expect me to listen to your words about page length.-- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:13, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Bruce, As you pointed out, other presidential articles are almost as big as this one. Incidently, the Elvis Presley article is at 108k, Hillary Clinton is at 103k, yet there is no issues there because no one has ever made it an issue. I've no intention of adding any more content to the article, but it's a little difficult to sit still for some of the nonsense that's been piled on to the talk page, all the while the definitive question has been repeatedly ignored, which is understandable. If we're not to go beyond the 100k limit, we will have to block any further contributions by other editors, and remove other text first. Musical chairs -- any only because someone decided to treat a guideline as a rigid policy. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:13, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
  • There's also another consideration you might appreciate. When one does a google search for Ulysses S. Grant, this is the article that comes up -- no other WP article on Grant is listed. As the main article, and given Grant's very involved role in U.S. history, this article is bigger than others. The idea is to give the reader the most complete basic picture without forcing one to hop to a half a dozen other articles. If one wanted to make a PDF file of this article, it would come off funky if it required the reader to 'go fish' in other articles at every other section. There's really no reason to not give the readers the complete basic picture here, other than this guideline that allows for exceptions in article size, for exceptional articles. The Grant biography qualifies as an exceptional article more so than almost all others. Yet for some reason, the 'exception' clause for all guidelines is ignored, along with other guidelines. As I've said, I have no intention of adding other text, but only want this musical chairs routine to end, one and for all. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:13, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
Gwillhickers I added and reduced text to keep the article at 100k. We can't just add on information over and over. Books are made to have additional information that readers can utilize. I disagree with the casual inference that 100k guideline is dismissed just to add more content. That is why other articles are made on Grant. Put the essential information in this article on Grant. Additional information on Grant can be put in other articles. Cmguy777 (talk) 21:10, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
More talk. We've repeatedly have added and removed text in this article on the basis of a guideline. It needs to end. Once again, what do you propose to do if, say tomorrow, or next week, someone comes along and adds a few sentences? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:19, 4 November 2019 (UTC)

Readable prose[edit]

More articles exceeding 100k with no issues: These articles have one major comparison with the Grant article. They are general subjects that greatly involve themselves with history, and warrant the size required for good and comprehensive coverage. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:24, 4 November 2019 (UTC)

Not one of those articles is currently FA category. This article is FA. So it is appropriate to abide by the 100k guideline. Can we let Coemgenus have a turn at the article ? There are no commanding editors here. There is no reason to keep pushing a higher narration size for this article. It just creates dissention. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:26, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
Insert : The Stalin and Napoleon articles are GA at least, with no issues, while none of the others have ever been nominated for FA. FA criteria says, Length. It stays focused on the main topic without going into unnecessary detail and uses summary style. Exceeding 100k doesn't mean it is not focused and doesn't employ summary style. A good summary is comprehensive. A good summary doesn't mean b-class writing. FA criteria only mentions length in terms of these things, not a guideline number. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:43, 5 November 2019 (UTC)

These presidential articles are FA category. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:28, 4 November 2019 (UTC)

Cmguy makes a good point. With millions of articles, you can find an example of anything. But I can't think of a high-quality article that exceeds 100k, much less a featured article. Everyone who edits here is happy to abide by the guideline except for Gwillhickers, and that has been the situation for years. There is a long-standing consensus that we follow the guideline on length. I'm not sure what else there is to talk about. --Coemgenus (talk) 00:49, 5 November 2019 (UTC)
Coemgenus, you say with millions of articles you can find an example of anything -- except a well written articled that exceeds 100k?? Nonsense. The presidential articles above don't involve themselves with history near as much as the Grant article, so there's not much a point being made on that account. Yes, I've always gone along with consensus, regardless of my objections over this mathematical approach to writing and the instability it continually brings to this article. My concern here, once again, is the constant removal and addition of text. Let's not sidestep that point, once again. This needs to stop.
None of the articles listed above have article length issues because no one is transfixed more on a guideline number than they are content. Once again, the question is avoided. Now that we're at 100k, what is the plan? Do we continue removing good faith contributions so some one else can come along and add their's? That this question is continually avoided like the plague only solidifies my point about this guideline obsession and the instability it continues to bring to the article.
Cmguy777 and myself were debating the content of one sentence. I didn't ask this for debate. Though I've added small items of text over the last few months it wasn't my contributions alone that took us over the 100k limit, so let's not make Gwillhickers your scapegoat. You can't create a consensus that forces any editor to stop making factual and well sourced contributions because of a guideline. If policies are at issue, that would be different. Do we now plan on standing over the article and reverting edits that take us over the 100k limit? Sorry. You just can't get around that. It's a valid consideration. As I said, I've no intentions of adding other text. But if there's something to be added, it should be added, and a guideline number should not be the idea that disallows it. One last question. Why is not the exception clause taken advantage of? They put it there for exceptional articles that need room for good coverage. -- Gwillhickers
Sure, that's a fine idea. Let's work on editing it down to size and then we can make sure it stays that way. --Coemgenus (talk) 01:49, 5 November 2019 (UTC)
  • It's at the agreed 100k limit. Don't appreciate the flip response. The question remains, are you going to stand over the article and revert new contributions, to "make sure it stays that way"? Apparently you're ready to. Thanks for finally answering at least. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:55, 5 November 2019 (UTC)
Let's relax a little. Suppose you get the article to a good size and shape; then it will go back to being just an article. Keep it on your watch list, and if somebody messes with it, take appropriate action, but while nobody is messing with it, you get a break. At least that's how I think of all the articles on my own watch list.
Since both you and Cmguy777 have been very active with this article, perhaps you're each wary of the other. Am I right? If that's the case, then either both of you have to buy into this peace treaty, or neither of you. If neither of you, then we're back to square one. But if both of you can see it as a finished effort, then it really is one.
Then what if a new biography comes along, or you get a good idea from any other source, what to do? I really don't know the answer to that one. But I respect that you are both very knowledgeable about Grant and that you both have been bitten by the same Wikipedia bug as I have. Bruce leverett (talk) 05:09, 5 November 2019 (UTC)
Neither is one editor allowed to control the article and force editors to go against the guidelines. Wikipedia:Consensus Wikipedia:Five pillars. You would be the owner of the article, since you are going against editor concensus. You just made a rule: "But if there's something to be added, it should be added, and a guideline number should not be the idea that disallows it." Editors don't have to abide by your rule. We need to tone this conversation. This article has reached its limit. Additional information can be found in books. Cmguy777 (talk) 02:46, 5 November 2019 (UTC)
Who's forcing anyone? My debating is a reasonable appeal. I've recently made several compromises, and with you in particular, in the lede. Asserting that something should be added if it needs to be added is another appeal, not a "rule". You say let's tone it down, but in the same breath you infer I'm the lone controller of the article. And once again, you don't acknowledge the situation this guideline obsession has befallen this article. Seems you're also ready to block new contributions -- with "consensus"? Now that we're at 100k, what is the plan? The only viable answer is, lighten up on this rigid adherence to a guideline number. No one plans on adding pages and pages of new text, but at the same time, if we happen to exceed the 100k limit by a few sentences, or even a paragraph, esp with all the new sources, this should not be something that involves a 'congressional hearing'. My plan is, let the article remain as it is, save improvements on grammar, citations, etc. And if someone should add something that warrants inclusion, the lot of us welcomes it, and moves on. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 03:34, 5 November 2019 (UTC)
It is not that complicated Gwillhickers. By saying more with less words, room is given to add information. That is how I have been editing. I encourage Coemgenus to improve the article. Cmguy777 (talk) 04:37, 5 November 2019 (UTC)
Wasting everyone's time with the same debate for years and years is not "a reasonable appeal." It's tendentious editing. It takes up everyone's time, drives away good-faith editors, and does not improve the encyclopedia. No, you are not the "lone controller" of this article, but you do filibuster everything to death with talk page fights, which amounts to the same thing.
Does any other editor here believe we should ignore the length guidelines? If not, then I suggest that we have arrived at a consensus and should behave accordingly. Let's move on, after all these years. --Coemgenus (talk) 13:56, 5 November 2019 (UTC)
There has been a clear consensus for years to abide by the length guidelines, but somehow Gwillhickers has been able to stop progress. Gwillhickers, if you truly don't "own" this article, as you repeatedly say, why not stand down for six months and give others a chance to get it in shape? YoPienso (talk) 15:08, 5 November 2019 (UTC)
When editors are on the same page, this article can be improved. My idea was to reduce the article narration size, 95K-99K. This would allow additional information to be put in the article, and keep at 100K or under 100K. Cmguy777 (talk) 20:02, 6 November 2019 (UTC)
Yopienso, The same old debate was not initiated by me here, and I've made efforts to bring the article to the agreed upon 100k limit, so would you kindly cease with the weasel accusations about me stopping "progress"? Please look at edit history and tell me where I've stopped "progress", and then note who the editors are who added text while the article was over 100k, and then notice that same editor lecturing me about progress now. This is the same BS that has repeated it self over and again. i.e.Reducing the narrative so we can increase the narrative? I have never dumped great amounts of text into the article while it was at or near the 100k mark, and i don't apprercaite the inference that this is what I've done, or plan to do. My contributions have been par, and less, with other contributors. Thank you. There was an agreement, that I didn't approve of, but went along with, about bringing the article to 100k. The article is at 100k, thanks to Cmguy777's and my latest edits. Perhaps you're the one that needs to step down, instead of creating even more instability with these unfair accusations. Disappointed. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:26, 6 November 2019 (UTC)
Coemgenus, I also suggested that the article is fine at 100k, save improvements in grammar and performing needed spot-checks with the cites and sources, and that we should move on. That is a plan I can live with. I still don't know what will happen if another editor comes along and adds a sentence or two, or more. Do we jump into the article and reduce the narrative accordingly? That seems foolish and only makes for a continually changing and unstable article. We can observe the 100k limit, but this should not take the form of a stone wall with guards walking back and forth. That's what's become of this article, and makes for a rather unfriendly forum in which to be making contributions. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:36, 6 November 2019 (UTC)
Editors are suppose to get along, abide by consensus, and work together. There is no need for anyone to take a break. Cmguy777 (talk) 18:09, 7 November 2019 (UTC)


Way too many major details were removed from the lede, rendering the opening paragraph less than generic. Using shorter prose some of these have been restored. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:14, 7 November 2019 (UTC)

Gwillhickers. Please allow editors to reduce the size of this article. Then let's talk about readding details. You are entitled to your opinions. It is my opinion the article can go down to 95K. That is reasonable. I will agree that too much information can be removed, but for now, we need to allow other editors have a free hand in the article without reverting their edits. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:30, 7 November 2019 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

Cmguy777, Your plan is to remove text, and then re-add details? As explained, this is nonsense. The agreed level was 100k. Now you're switching things again. We can reduce the article size without removing important details. I have made a number of reductions myself. Please allow editors to keep this FA contextual. The agreement was 100k. If you have intentions of chopping away text to lower that number, you can expect that it will be restored, in part, or in full. Please keep your word and abide by the agreement, and stop harassing other editors. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:57, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
Nothing was removed from the lead section. Everything I removed from the first paragraph was covered in subsequent paragraphs. Two principles are involved:
  • Needless duplication in the lead section is to be avoided.
  • Just as the lead section is like a jacket blurb for the main article, the first paragraph is like a jacket blurb for the rest of the lead section.
This goes back further than the 5 pillars, it is just basic Strunk & White. To be effective, writing must be disciplined, and every word must count. If a reader gets bored in the early part, he isn't going to read the later part.
I am not trying to reduce the size so much as to try to increase the coherence and the general quality of writing. By the way, I tried to pattern the first paragraph after the first paragraphs of other presidential biographies -- you can guess which ones. I'm not trying to do something new and different here. Wikipedia was around for, what, 16 years before I came along. When I see good models for emulation, I try to emulate them.
Another editor removed the sentence about Grant's Memoirs. Opinions may differ, but I found the story of Grant racing with death, finishing his memoirs just days before he died of cancer, to be utterly compelling. But I will defer to other editors as to whether it should be mentioned in the first paragraph. Now that I have made the case for how special the first paragraph is, I can't blame other editors for taking me seriously. Bruce leverett (talk) 19:50, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
Bruce, major details are placed in the lede, and then expanded on in the main text. e.g.You removed that Grant was a career soldier. That's a Major detail. We need to say something more than Grant simply led the Union to victory. Also, word about his presidency should get mentioned in the 1st paragraph. Yes, the one short sentence about memoirs belongs in the lede, it's a trademark of Grant's and deserves mention there. This was the sort of thing I was afraid of. i.e. The whimsical omission of text to sustain a guideline number. We had a discussion about what belongs in the 1st paragraph and settled on the prior version. I rewrote the 1st paragraph, mentioning the presidency, reconstruction and corruption. These are landmark items that belong in the 1st lede paragraph. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:02, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
I tried to explain why I omitted things. I was not being "whimsical", and I explicitly mentioned that I was not trying to sustain a guideline number. If you aren't reading what I'm writing, we can't have a discussion. This was why I tried to quit a few days ago. I returned because it appeared that everyone was pledging to work together constructively. I'm now finding out what these pledges are worth.
At the risk of repeating myself, I did not remove anything from the lead section, that I know of. If I missed something, it can be corrected without defacing the first paragraph. It seems reasonable to state that he was a career soldier in the lead section, but not in the first paragraph. If it's not mentioned in the second, third, or fourth paragraph, it could be mentioned there. It is not appropriate for the first paragraph. Bruce leverett (talk) 21:39, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
"Career soldier who was promoted" -- the reader, knowing that Grant led the Union Army, can be trusted to infer that he was a career soldier. It is unnecessary (and not a good idea) for us to spell this out.
"Previously" -- You and I seem to agree that we have to mention his presidency in the very first sentence. But since we then mention the Civil War in the second sentence, we're out of chronological order. Some other presidential biographies use "Previously" to help clarify this for the reader. I will add it back, but if you don't like it or prefer to use some other method (such as saying "had played a central role" instead of "played a central role", I can live with that.
"played a central role" -- I prefer the wording I used, but your wording is OK. If I had known the author of the sentence was actively editing the article, I would have left it alone; sorry about that.
"As president, Grant worked with ... in his administration" -- I had thought that this sentence was just duplicating material in the third paragraph. But on closer inspection, I see that the third paragraph is not so clear about this. I am very interested in getting this out of the first paragraph and down with its buddies in the third, but I'm not ready to do that. I will leave it alone for now. Bruce leverett (talk) 04:25, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
Gwillhickers. Now you are for reduction ? I am not harrassing anyone. The reduction of text would allow the opportunity to add or readd important information. My objection was not to revert the reductions. Let that process proceed. I said the article could be reduced to 95K. Stop harrassing me in the talk page by accusing me of harrassment. The agreement is to reduce the article, but not go over the 100K limit. Again. You are acting like a controlling editor. Just let editors freely edit. Please. Cmguy777 (talk) 00:40, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
Cmguy777, as I've explained before, I am going along, reluctantly. If we can reduce the article without depleting the context, I've no strong complaints on that note. If and when context is removed, that will pose other issues. Why must things be repeated for you more than twice? The agreement was bring the article down to 100k. Now you're, typically, twisting this idea. When you say "let editors freely edit", does this idea include me? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 03:06, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
Coemgenus, you've been removing some biographical context for a biography about "Grant, the man". No one but a few editors around here are concerned about the exact word count. Let's keep some depth to the article and keep in mind the readers we are writing for, please. We are at 98k. Are we still in a state of emergency? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 03:08, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
Every single editor besides you is concerned about word count. --Coemgenus (talk) 03:08, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
Coemgenus', the question remains: Why? This should not be a 'we against they' issue, which at this point seems what the debate has digressed into. We are well below 100k now. The article was above 100k for some time, with no issues. Can you explain the urgency here? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 03:36, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
We've explained it many, many times. You don't agree, I know, but there is a consensus among the editors of this page that we should follow the rules on page length. --Coemgenus (talk) 16:23, 8 November 2019 (UTC)


Another review called for?[edit]

As has been pointed out, many many times, Page length is a guideline, not a rule, and should not be used as the sole excuse to reduce the article, as is presently happening, and with consensus. This is troubling. There was a consensus for 100k. We are now at 98k. So far things don't look too bad, but if the trend continues and the article becomes radically different than it was previously, it seems another review might be called for to see how many major details are missing, among other things. With all the changes there are no doubt new errors that need tending to. Btw, every time I do spot checks on the citations, it's only a matter of a few minutes before an error is found. After years of playing musical chairs with the article the citations need to be reexamined. Unfortunately most editors are concerned with counting words and truncating sentences. Anyone can chop down a sentence. Even someone who never heard of Grant. Checking citations requires a lot of reading through different sources - work. With all the edits that have been added and taken away, because of page length, with the instability it creates I'm surprised no one has called for another review. Let's see where the article goes in the next week. For now I'm done and will just watch the article and see what happens to the narrative in the name of page length. Just for the record, I have no intention of calling for another review, no matter what, that's a promise -- my words are cautionary only. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:06, 8 November 2019 (UTC)

You seem to insist on being tendentiously false about other editors, here. The other editors are interested in a well-written summary article consistent with our purpose. 100k is a project-wide consensus guideline that prefers shorter than 100k, that we the consensus on this page abide, because we are of the particularized editorial opinion that it promotes a well-written summary Grant article. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:27, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
The article has gone through continuous changes, back and forth, for years, spurred on by page length, a guideline. Lately page length, which I've made a number of efforts to reduce, has been the primary idea focused on by several editors, as if that alone was the magic recipe for a well written summary. Several legitimate concerns were expressed about the article, regarding constant changes, major details, stability, and what state the citations are in at this point. It would have been nice if you were more concerned about those things rather that spinning off an underhanded accusation about me being "tendentiously false about other editors". -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:17, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
First page length is not the sole reason for reduction. The narration needs to be cleaned up. It is bloated. I cleaned up edited Grant's Pacific business ventures or failures and Pacific Indians information. Second, the article will read better at a reduced narration. Saying more with less. Third, Wikipedia guideline says 100K limit. An FA quality article should abide by that guideline as other Presidential articles, noted, have been edited. The 100K is a limit. There is no rule that an article can't be 98K. The narration has improved with the reduction of narration size. Trimming the excess narration. One could say. Freeing up narration space will allow modern research to have precedence. What I am finding odd is this continued push, or stick, to keep the article exactly at 100K, or to go beyond 100K. I suggest politely to drop the stick, let editors freely edit. Editors are constantly being interupted by another lecture on article size. Once finished, then there would be time for discussion about adding pertinent information. Cmguy777 (talk) 20:38, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
Reducing or cleaning up article size allowed my edit of Grant having emotional scars from poverty. Cmguy777 (talk) 20:50, 8 November 2019 (UTC)

I've no objections of removing overly worded or tangential prose. It's the removal of context that I strongly object to, as I've indicated many times. I've made efforts to reduce the word count, so my contentions are not along that line explicitly. As I've said, my concern lies in the ever changing narrative, and the removal of context for the sake of reducing a given number of k-bytes, and what we do when new/other editors come along and add information. This is a realistic concern. If you can reduce the number size, without cutting into context, you have my support, as I've indicated many many times. Please don't ask me to "allow editors to freely edit". That suggests I have some sort of power over other editors. At the same time, no one can freely edit, as we are all subject to rules and consensus. You're suggesting that I am somehow above that, which is of course completely ridiculous. Last, now that we're at 98k, we should also turn our attention to the citations. Years of constant changes have often left the citations in a questionable state. They often go unnoticed because most editors are too busy chasing after a page length objective to be bothered with doing the reading required to make sure the cites are in order. This is a legitimate criticism, based on the activity of the editors involved here. I can't remember the last time an avid page length critic has bothered with checking the citations and correcting errors. When I do citation spot checks it's only a matter of minutes before an error is discovered. Minutes. That should tell us many more are yet to be found. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 02:56, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

Spot checks[edit]

For a short while at least, I will be confining my edits to spot checking. As there are many hundreds of cites in this article, help would make the task easier. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:29, 11 November 2019 (UTC)