Horace Greeley

Horace Greeley (1811-72), journalist, reformer, and Republican politician, was the founder and lifelong editor of the New York Tribune. Born in Amherst, New Hampshire, Greeley moved to New York City in 1831 and became coeditor of a small literary periodical in 1834. With the sponsorship of William H. Seward and Thurlow Weed, Greeley soon entered the field of political journalism, editing Whig campaign weeklies in 1838 and again in 1840. The next year he launched the Tribune, which quickly outstripped its local competitors and attained a large circulation throughout the North. In addition to promoting a panoply of social causes ranging from Fourierism to the abolition of capital punishment, the Tribune under Greeley became the leading editorial voice of the Republican party during the 1850s. Openly hostile to abolitionism during the early 1840s and 1850s, Greeley worked to extend equal suffrage to New York blacks while simultaneously accepting that blacks were an "indolent, improvident, servile, and licentious" race incapable of achieving social equality with whites. In his Recollections Greeley claimed to have rejected colonization during the mid-1830s, but he actually gave periodic support to emigrationist schemes throughout the antebellum era, and clashed repeatedly with Frederick Douglass, James McCune Smith, and other black leaders over the issue. Glyndon G. Van Deusen, Horace Greeley: Nineteenth Century Crusader (Philadelphia, 1953), 102-03, 381; Eric Foner, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (New York, 1970), 262-63, 297-300; Ralph Ray Fahrney, Horace Greeley and the Tribune in the Civil War (Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1936), 60n, 131; Horace Greeley, Recollections of a Busy Life (New York, 1869), 284-86; DAB, 7: 528-34.

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