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Horace Greeley (1811–1872)

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0Horace Greeley (1811–1872)

Greeley was the most famous newspaper editor of the nineteenth century, whose eccentric involvements in reform and politics made him an object of humor and anger.

He started on a Vermont newspaper at age fourteen and in 1841 launched the New York Tribune in close association with Whig politicians Thurlow Weed and William Seward.

At various times, he supported Fourierism, ending capital punishment, prohibition, cooperative labor unions, women’s rights (though not suffrage), and homesteading. He once spent a few months in an unsuccessful farming venture and then published a book called What I Know of Farming.

He had a high, squeaky voice and whiskers and always wore a broad-brimmed hat and white socks. He tried numerous times for political office, but except for a few months in Congress, he always failed. He had often been satirized but took personally the attacks on him in the 1872 campaign: one cartoon depicted him shaking hands with Booth over Lincoln’s body. He already showed signs of mental instability before the election and died shortly thereafter.

Quote: “We are henceforth to be one American people. Let us forget that we fought. Let us remember only that we have made peace.” (1872)

REFERENCE: Lurton D. Ingersoll, The Life of Horace Greeley (1974).

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