A novel task confronted Grant in his first months in office — encourage an entire race to get in the Republican fold and stay there. He wanted to give a prominent post to a Negro. This was a tricky business; indeed, Robert Purvis had decided a “trick” was afoot when Andrew Johnson’s aide asked Purvis whether he wanted a federal post. But that was Johnson; Grant was different. The ambassadorship to Haiti needed filling. There was talk that the president would ask Frederick Douglass.
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