From Grant's Speeding to Trump's Indictment: Presidential Arrests and America's Unwavering Spirit
Photo Credit: Political Flare
Written by: Sam Orlando
In a historical incident that may surprise many, President Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States, was once arrested for speeding in his horse-drawn carriage in 1872. Although numerous presidents have faced legal scrutiny and controversies, Grant remains the first and only sitting president to be arrested. This unique event in American history highlights the resilience of the nation, demonstrating that even in challenging situations involving presidential arrests, the United States has the ability to survive and move forward.
Ulysses S. Grant, who had led the Union armies to victory over the Confederacy during the Civil War, became president in 1869. Known as an exceptional horseman since his days as a cadet at the United States Military Academy, Grant continued to indulge in his passion for driving horse-drawn carriages even while in office.
The arrest of Grant by DC Police was recently detailed by the Washington Post. The incident, according to the Post, occurred at the corner of 13th and M streets in Washington D.C. when Grant was speeding in his carriage, drawn by a pair of fast steppers. The arresting officer, William H. West, a Black Civil War veteran, stopped the president and informed him that he was violating the law by speeding along the street. West added that the president's fast driving had set a bad example for others.
Initially, Grant apologized for his actions and promised not to repeat the offense. However, the very next day, he was caught speeding again. This time, West told the president, "I am very sorry, Mr. President, to have to do it, for you are the chief of the nation, and I am nothing but a policeman, but duty is duty, sir, and I will have to place you under arrest."
Following his arrest, Grant was taken to a police station and ordered to pay a $20 fine. A trial was held the next day, with numerous cases against speeding drivers contested fiercely. A judge issued heavy fines and a "scathing rebuke." However, President Grant did not appear in court.
Though it is not possible to verify every detail of this story, the incident has been mentioned in various sources, including comments made in 2012 by Cathy Lanier, then D.C. police chief. Lanier referred to Grant as a "joy rider" who had been racing his buggy on M street.
According to her, D.C. police "stopped and cited Ulysses S. Grant three times for speeding" but ultimately let him pay a fine and walk back to the White House.
As we face the news of the potential indictment and arrest of former President Donald Trump, it is worth remembering the strength and resilience of our nation. While the circumstances and alleged offenses may differ significantly—speeding in a horse-drawn carriage compared to paying off a porn star to keep quiet—the fact that the United States survived the arrest of a sitting president shows that the country can weather the storm of a former president facing legal consequences.
The story of Ulysses S. Grant's arrest serves as a reminder that no one, not even the highest officeholder in the land, is above the law. It also demonstrates that the United States, built on the foundations of justice and democracy, has the capacity to endure such challenges and emerge stronger than before. In times of uncertainty and upheaval, it is important to recall the lessons of history and the resilience of our nation as we continue to forge ahead, regardless of the obstacles we face.