Ulysses S. Grant as symbol became as important in peace as he had been in war. The nation rewarded Grant with the rank of full general, the first U.S. officer to hold the rank since George Washington.Disliking politics, Grant sought to avoid the growing controversy over Reconstruction policy. Although he faced growing pressure to take a stand, he maintained public silence, firmly believing it wrong for an army officer "to take part in elections."Grant also worked hard to reorganize the army to meet postwar needs. Increased friction between settlers and Indians, Fenian activity in Canada, and the French in Mexico required a larger army than customary.Reconstruction and the French presence in Mexico increasingly conspired to draw Grant into the political arena.