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The Plank - Hitting the Nail on the Head

The Plank - Hitting the Nail on the Head
Alternate Title
Ulysses S. Grant
Thomas Nast, 27 Sep 1840 - 7 Dec 1902
Ulysses Simpson Grant, 27 Apr 1822 - 23 Jul 1885
Wood engraving on paper
Image/Sheet: 55.6 × 39.8 cm (21 7/8 × 15 11/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
Committed to the growing trend for free public schools in the United States, President Grant proved to be ahead of his times. It was widely held that public education should incorporate Protestant prayers and basic religious doctrine. Catholics, however, objected and instead lobbied for tax dollars to establish their own private schools. In a speech to Union Army veterans in 1875, Grant clearly stated his position: “Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private school supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separate.”
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 110a