The Capitol’s missing Civil War monument to Ulysses S. Grant

The neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville has spurred calls around the nation for the removal of public statues, monuments, and symbols venerating white supremacy and the “lost cause” of the Confederacy. Those sites include Capitol Hill, where eight statues of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Alexander Stephens, and five other traitors to the United States were added between 1909 and 1931 at the behest of their home states. But while Democrats including New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have urged their Republican colleagues to “remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately,” Vice President Mike Pence echoed Donald Trump’s charge that “they” were attempting “to take away our history and our heritage.”

“Obviously, I think that should always be a local decision. And with regard to the US Capitol, should be a state decision. I'm someone who believes in more monuments, not less monuments.”

If he is to be taken at his word that “more monuments” help us “remember our history,” then Vice President Pence would surely support the installation in the Capitol rotunda of a massive mural depicting Lee’s surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. That never-completed tribute has been missing from Congress for 148 years due to the obstruction of one man: 

President Ulysses S. Grant.