Reconciliation at Grant's Tomb
Wrap your head around this - Ulysses S. Grant shaking hands with that rebel Robert E. Lee enshrined forever at his own tomb!! And why not? The whole point of the war was to bring the country back together - why not show a little spirit of reconciliation? After all, Grant's campaign slogan (or rather, the Republican Party's slogan) for the election of 1868 was "Let Us Have Peace." So there you have it...peace.
But remember, Union veterans had a very clear vision of what peace and reconciliation would look like. Don't forget that. When Americans would learn the history of their greatest conflict, former Union soldiers were determined that they would learn what the war had been about. The Confederacy had fought to destroy the nation and perpetuate the institution of slavery. Period.
Sure, they would say, let us have peace...let us promote reconciliation. But don't forget what happened. Even Grant himself wrote in his memoirs: "I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse."