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In Ron We Trust?: Galena tells President Reagan to surrender to President Grant



Ulysses S. Grant never opted for surrender.
Apparently, the community he called home has inherited his grudge against giving up ground, especially when it comes to its most beloved son.
Don't believe us? Well, just ask U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C.
The congressman recently riled up Galena residents when he recommended kicking the former Union general and American president from his prominent position on the $50 bill.
His suggestion?
Add some bling to the bill by showcasing the good ol' Gipper.
We're talking about Ronald Reagan, the man McHenry calls the "last great president" of the 20th century.
Great or not, Galena residents aren't convinced.
"There's no reason why this should happen," said Nancy Breed, director of the Galena History Museum.
Granted, she's securely in Ulysses' corner, but she said she's using her historical neutrality to make her decision.
"As much as I admire President Reagan, in my opinion, he doesn't have the national prominence that General and President Grant held," Breed said. "Furthermore, I think it's important that time lapse before we decide how much of an impact Reagan had on our nation."
So we here at the TH came up with a score sheet:
FOR REAGAN: Some historians credit Reagan with single-handedly sinking the Soviet Union, thanks to his tough line during the Cold War.
FOR GRANT: Grant did win a war, and a pretty significant one at that. Many historians say that without Grant, our nation could be divided into the North and South.
FOR REAGAN: Many GOP die-hards argue that Reagan's tax cuts during the 1980s broke through a financial barrier and made life better for most of the nation.
FOR GRANT: Grant did more for black Americans than any president between Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon B. Johnson, according to some scholars. Additionally, he ensured rights for thousands of American Indians.
AGAINST REAGAN: Anybody remember Oliver North? The big scandal during Reagan's administration alleged he knew one of his staffers was selling arms to Iran.
AGAINST GRANT: Some historians have claimed Grant's presidency was the most corrupt in our nation's history. Breed, of course, disagrees, saying many historians are now claiming Grant's reputation will soon make a comeback.
And the result? Well, hmmph. No clear winner here. Looking for a tie-breaker only complicated matters. Both boys have ties to the same state; Reagan was born in Dixon, Ill., and Grant lived in Galena for several years.
But Breed has a prediction.
"I'm guessing this won't happen," she said.
Her reasoning seems sound. After all, this isn't the first time a Congressman has tried putting Reagan on currency. In 2003, it was an attempt to oust Franklin Roosevelt from the dime, and in 2005, it was the first round of Grant versus Reagan.
Also, our nation suffers no shortage of accolades for Reagan. Highways, schools, hospitals, airports, parks, bridges and more all display his name.


(Photo Credit: Tom Chao)
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