The first most important political consequence of Grant's presidency was that the rampant corruption, as well as the crippling economic depression that followed the Panic of 1873, played an important role in causing many Americans to lose interest in Reconstruction. Grant had been aggressive in protecting the civil rights of African-Americans in the former Confederacy, but he lost a great deal of political capital as a result of a series of political scandals. Significantly, backlash against the scandals also caused the GOP to lose control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections of 1874. Consequently, Democrats were able to "redeem" many southern local governments, and federal occupation of the South was ended officially through a series of political compromises in 1877. The federal government thus acquiesced in the restoration of white supremacy in the South.
Outrage at the corruption in Grant's administration contributed to a nascent civil service reform movement, but that movement only really gained momentum after the assassination of James A. Garfield, supposedly by a disgruntled office-seeker, in 1881. Additionally, the coziness of the Grant presidency with big business, itself the source of major abuses, would remain the dominant trend until Theodore Roosevelt's presidency.