After the Victory

By | November 24, 2023

[November 24, 2023]  In 1868, former U.S. Army General Ulysses S Grant was elected president to an office that bore witness to national divisiveness over the aftermath of the great U.S. Civil War that ended only a few years before.  While Grant is best known for his generalship during that war, what he did after the victory made him one of the greatest presidents in U.S. history.

Grant provides an example of what a great leader does after the victory by demonstrating true leadership.  For example, we admire members of sports teams who are magnanimous after their team wins, and we respect politicians who are humble and generous after they’ve won an election.  It follows that the epitome of the greatest leaders in humankind – those we hold in the highest esteem – have always been those who can bring people together to achieve something they would not have done otherwise.

“After victory, you have more enemies.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Statesman

In most of recorded history, and at least since the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, nations that created stable and secure postwar governments in the defeated states were themselves, as the victors, seen as among the greatest nations.  Such “strategic restraint” has been the foundation for the stability throughout industrial democracies of the world today.1

As a young boy, our little league baseball coach required us to shake the hands of the other teams, win or lose.  He strongly opposed any displays of overt pride or taunting the other team.  How we played the game was necessary; he referred to it as our good sportsmanship.  But he referred to how we acted after the game, especially if we had won, as our goodness of character.

Reconstruction dominated Grant’s presidency.2  Unknown to many, Grant knew that the end of the U.S. Civil War brought liberation and healing, not occupation and tyranny.  He pushed Congress and his own Republican Party to create what we call today “civil rights.”  Grant also created an assimilationist “peace policy” toward American Indians.

Lessons leaders have learned since the beginning of time is that what they do after the victory is won is what determines their moral standing and legacy.

This brings us to the current wars in Ukraine (where no one can predict the winner) and the Gaza Strip (where the Israelis will be victorious).  How are the victorious to treat the defeated?  Will they gain more enemies in victory, as Cicero declares?  Will they have a lasting and peaceful peace?  That is a question that must be thoughtfully considered by all parties involved.




Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

22 thoughts on “After the Victory

  1. Good Dog

    Gen. Satterfield, well done! We must all look forward enough into the future to determine what we do after the war. In this case, Israel must look beyond the battlefield and “see” what they need to do once Hamas is defeated. Should they totally destroy Gaza (no that will not work in the long run). Should they occupy Gaza and force Hamas out of their culture? Yes, but they should note that the world will be against them. That is why the narrative is so important for Israel. 🇮🇱

  2. Tom Bushmaster

    Once again, Gen. Satterfield has nailed it. Maybe he learned it in IRaq and Afghanistan or somewhere else, but the lesson is that in war or competition, you must consider those over who you win. Just like his Little League team when his coach made everyone shake the hands of the other team and tell them ‘well done.’ Keep these lessons coming our way, Gen. S. Thank you.

    1. Jerome Smith

      Tom, thanks for writing what I was thinking. We call it SPORTSMANSHIP.

  3. Eddie Gilliam

    Excellent article my friend. Leaders don’t want all the credit when things are going well nor blame others for lack of success. What leadership does you normally used? The i want all the credit and blame others for lack of success. Or I give credit to my team and expect responsibility for the lack of success.

  4. HAL

    Thank you Gen. Satterfield for this article and to show that keeping the peace after the battles are won is not so easy. But also, I will ask that you write another book, incorporating all your letters to your granddaughter. It would be nice to read it, along with your comments.

  5. catorenasci

    Gen. Satterfield, I have never heard this quote before.
    “After victory, you have more enemies.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Statesman

  6. The Kid

    “Reconstruction dominated Grant’s presidency.2 Unknown to many, Grant knew that the end of the U.S. Civil War brought liberation and healing, not occupation and tyranny. He pushed Congress and his own Republican Party to create what we call today “civil rights.” Grant also created an assimilationist “peace policy” toward American Indians.” – Gen. Doug Satterfield. This is an important point. This is why the military has “long range” planners on their higher-level staffs. They want to be thinking ahead, not just 24 or 36 hours but months ahead or longer. To be truly victorious, one must also ensure that the battle or the war does not repeat itself in the near future.

    1. Winston

      A good example of where this did NOT occur was the end of WW1. The Germans were crushed and humiliated. That is largely why they came roaring back in the 1930s and eventually would start another war. Plus, the rest of Europe were becoming wimps.

  7. Emma Archambeau

    The day after Thanksgiving, my pants are too small (ha) but my mind is ready for another article from Gen. Satterfield. I’m signing on early today, just to see what he is publishing. I do love his Letters to My Granddaughter and am always happy when he prints one. Altho I cannot say why I love them so much, I just do. I’m sure others are thinking the same.

    1. mainer

      Good comment, Randy. Thank you! And thanks to Gen. Satterfield for highlighting some of the strategy we always overlook.

      1. Fred Weber

        That is why reading this blog is so important to each of us. After the victory. I recommend that Gen. S. publsih a book on this topic to get more in depth.

  8. Randy Goodman

    Gen. Satterfield, a thoughtful article. If we are to go to war (or take on a competitor), then we MUST consider what victory will be like on the other end. Using little league baseball is a classic example in your case what to do and what not to do.

    1. Ronny Fisher

      … as Gen. Satterfield tends to be. Just read his books, “55 Rules for a Good Life” and see how much more powerful and thoughtful he can be. Once you begin to dig beneath the surface, you will see that there is a deep thinker here. Best of luck on this wonderful holiday and happy Thanksgiving, one day late.

    2. Forrest Gump

      Yes, of course, we all believe in Gen. Satterfield and in his capability to deliver.

      1. Jeff Blackwater

        We are all for gen. Satterfield …. a real hero and real thinker too.

      2. Shawn C. Stolarz

        Just read his books. My favorite of the two is “Our Longest Year in IRaq.” 📖👀

        1. Qassim

          …. or “55 rules for a good life’
          … that is the book for me and for you.


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