Greeley, Horace

Horace Greeley did far more than advice adolescent men to go west: he was the leader of the New York Tribune; an early founder of the Republican Party; an abolitionist, farmer, and presidential hopeful. Born on February 3, 1811 to struggling New Hampshire farmers, Horace was formally educated until age 14, and, in 1826, began his life-long career in journalism as an apprentice to printer Amos Bliss. With the founding of the New-Yorker in the early 1830s, Greeley came on the scene in both the literary and political fields, as he became involved with powerful New York Whig leaders. A decade later, in 1841, Greeley burst onto the national scene with the start of the Whig newspaper the New York Tribune. In line with many Northern Whigs of the time, he used his First Amendment freedom of the press to fight many “social ills” of the time, such as gender inequality, alcoholism, and, most importantly, the sin of slavery. Using these ethical mores as a base, coupled with such political convictions as the opposition to the Mexican War and condemnation of the Dred Scott Case, Greeley became deeply involved with the founding of the Republican Party in the early 1850s. With such influences in the Republican Party, Greeley advised President Lincoln during the Civil War, and tried to push his agenda concerning abolition upon the president. During Reconstruction and later years, Greeley tried his hand at farming, made a run for the presidency, and died after “a busy life,” in 1872. (By David Gillespie)

Life Span
    Full name
    Horace Greeley
    Place of Birth
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Free State
    No. of Spouses
    No. of Children
    Zaccheus Greeley (father), Mary Woodburn (mother), Mary Youngs Cheney (wife, 1836)
    Writer or Artist
    Relation to Slavery
    White non-slaveholder

    Horace Greeley (American National Biography)

    On 10 April 1841 Greeley published the first issue of the daily New York Tribune. This publication, the first daily Whig paper in New York City, brought him national fame and enormous journalistic power, despite such rivals as William Cullen Bryant's Evening Post, Henry Jarvis Raymond's New York Times, and James Gordon Bennett's Herald. Later in 1841 Greeley took on Thomas McElrath as a business partner, and The New-Yorker and the Log Cabin were merged into the weekly Tribune. Over the years, in biting, witty editorials, Greeley crusaded against slavery, the conditions of penury, an unchecked aristocracy, suppression of women's rights, and capital punishment while supporting peace movements, vegetarianism, labor rights, Fourierist communities, and high tariffs. He also railed against tobacco, alcoholic beverages, and marital infidelity.

    Under Greeley's guidance, the Tribune became one of the great American newspapers. By 1860 the Tribune in all its formats--daily, weekly, semiweekly--would reach a circulation of nearly 300,000. Renowned as a "political Bible" and distinguished for its excellent reporting of local, national, and global events, the Tribune in the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s featured a galaxy of brilliant writers, among them, Solon Robinson on agriculture; Bayard Taylor on travel; Charles Dana, the managing editor; George Ripley and Margaret Fuller, the latter a close friend, on literary topics; and James Pike on Washington affairs. Perhaps the most intriguing Greeley reporter was Karl Marx, who wrote about European affairs in the 1850s. Greeley believed that while his editorials represented his personal perspective, a newspaper should be an open forum for the competing and colliding views of talented spirits. In this way, he sponsored an intellectual democracy.
    Erik S. Lunde, "Greeley, Horace," American National Biography Online, February 2000,

    Horace Greeley (Congressional Biographical Directory)

    GREELEY, Horace, a Representative from New York; born in Amherst, N.H., February 3, 1811; attended the public schools; apprenticed to the art of printing in East Poultney, Vt., 1826-1830; worked as a journeyman printer in Erie, Pa., in 1831, and later in New York City; commenced the publication of the Morning Post January 1, 1833, but it was soon discontinued; published the New Yorker 1834-1841; edited the Log Cabin in 1840; founded the New York Tribune April 10, 1841, and edited it until his death; elected as a Whig to the Thirtieth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the unseating of David S. Jackson and served from December 4, 1848, to March 3, 1849; was not a candidate for reelection in 1848; visited Europe in 1851 and was chairman of one of the juries at the World’s Fair in London; commissioner to the Paris Exposition in 1855; delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1860 from Oregon, being denied a place on the New York delegation; unsuccessful candidate for Senator in 1861; delegate to the State constitutional convention in 1867; at the close of the Civil War advocated universal amnesty, and in May 1867 offered bail for Jefferson Davis; unsuccessful Republican candidate for election in 1870 to the Forty-second Congress; nominated by the Liberal Republicans in Cincinnati in 1872 and by the Democrats in Baltimore for the Presidency, but was defeated by Grant; died near New York City November 29, 1872; interment in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
    "Greeley, Horace," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present,

    Horace Greeley, Lincoln-Douglas Debates (Williams, 2006)

    In 1858, Illinois joined Kansas as a battleground in the war between slavery and freedom. Here a leading Democrat, Stephen A. Douglas, faced a former Illinois congressman and railroad attorney, Abraham Lincoln, in the race for a U.S. Senate seat held by Douglas. To the consternation of Lincoln and most Republicans, Horace Greeley supported Douglas, a Democrat, against Lincoln, a Republican. Why? Many have attributed Greeley’s support for Douglas simply to his erratic and inconsistent political behavior. But in fact, Greeley’s consistent strategy that year was to divide the Democrats by backing an anti-Lecompton man who had broken with his party and his president, which would help elect a Republican president in 1860. Strategically, Greeley had his eye on the next presidential election, when his old mentor William Henry Seward would probably be the front-runner. Lincoln was an unknown figure outside Illinois. Tactically, Greeley thought defeating Lincoln and returning a renegade Senator to divide the Democrats in Washington was a perfectly reasonable strategy.
    Robert C. Williams, Horace Greeley: Champion of American Freedom (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 195-196.

    Horace Greeley, Legacy (Williams, 2006)

    Horace Greeley’s most famous legacy was probably his injunction to “Go West, Young Man!” Millions did, of course. Whether or not Greeley ever said these exact words, generations of school children recited or remembered them. Westward expansion in search of land and freedom constituted one of the major trends in American history. Greeley both articulated and reflected that trend. But he also fused European and American ideas of freedom into a single republican philosophy grounded in free labor and the right to rise or fall by dint of one’s own hard work.
    Robert C. Williams, Horace Greeley: Champion of American Freedom (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 308.
    Date Event
    Horace Greeley is born in Amherst, New Hampshire
    Horace Greeley marries Mary Youngs Cheney in Warrenton, North Carolina
    Horace Greeley establishes the New York Tribune
    Horace Greeley sets off from New York on his tour of the West
    Horace Greeley arrives in Kansas on his tour of the West
    The Republican Party is organized in Kansas at a Convention in Osawatomie
    Horace Greeley arrives in Lawrence, Kansas on his tour of the West
    Horace Greeley arrives in Denver on his tour of the West
    Horace Greeley arrives home in New York City after his tour of the West
    - Michigan State Fair in session in Detroit
    At a Lincoln rally in New York City, Horace Greeley woos former Whig and American Party voters
    New York Republicans elect Ira Harris to replace W.H. Seward in the United States Senate
    In Albany, the combined houses of the New York Legislature elect Ira Harris to the U. S. Senate
    President Lincoln signs the Homestead Act
    The Homestead Act comes into effect
    New York City's editors meet to condemn infringements of the free press
    In Richmond, former Confederate president Jefferson Davis appears in federal court under a writ of habeas corpus and is released on bail.
    The 1867 New York State Constitutional Convention opens in Albany, New York.
    Horace Greeley dies in Pleasantville, New York
    Date Title
    Richmond (VA) Dispatch, "The Underground Railroad," April 26, 1853
    New York Herald, "The Boston Fugitive Case," June 3, 1854
    Abraham Lincoln's Speech at Springfield, Illinois, June 10, 1856
    New York Times, “A Few Words About Kansas,” March 20, 1857
    Charleston (SC) Mercury, "The Fate and the Folly of Compromises," May 25, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, “Collapse of Abolitionists,” October 22, 1857
    New York Times, “Governor Walker in Washington,” December 15, 1857
    Abraham Lincoln to Lyman Trumbull, December 28, 1857
    New York Herald, "The Approaching Conclusion of the Kansas Comedy," January 27, 1858
    Norman Buel Judd to Abraham Lincoln, June 1, 1858
    Ward Hill Lamon to Abraham Lincoln, June 9, 1858
    Abraham Lincoln to Charles H. Ray, June 27, 1858
    New York Herald, “The Illinois Campaign,” August 13, 1858
    David Davis to Abraham Lincoln, November 7, 1858
    New York Herald, “The Union of the Opposition Factions,” December 10, 1858
    Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, “Drawing it Mild,” April 9, 1859
    Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, “Lincoln in New York,” April 21, 1859
    Fayetteville (NC) Observer, “Greeley Meets a Slave Dealer,” June 9, 1859
    New York Herald, “Horace Greeley and His Pike’s Peak Humbuggery,” July 10, 1859
    San Francisco (CA) Evening Bulletin, “Arrival of Horace Greeley,” July 30, 1859
    Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, “Greeley as an Orator,” September 16, 1859
    New York Herald, “Supplies for the Army in Utah,” October 16, 1859
    Richmond (VA) Dispatch, "Northern Impertinences with Regard to the Late Affair at Harpers Ferry," October 24, 1859
    Fayetteville (NC) Observer, "Good Out of Evil," October 27, 1859
    Baltimore (MD) Sun, "More Harper's Ferry Disclosures," October 28, 1859
    Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, "They Have Overdone It!," November 2, 1859
    Charleston (SC) Mercury, “Mr. Douglas’ New Book,” November 4, 1859
    Boston (MA) Liberator, "Bad News for the Abolitionists," November 11, 1859
    New York Herald, "The Slavery Agitation," December 10, 1859
    New York Herald, "The Underground Railroad and Its Victims," January 5, 1860
    New York Herald, “The Senate and Messrs Hyatt and Howe,” February 25, 1860
    New York Herald, “Trouble among the Republican President Makers,” February 28, 1860
    George Fisher to Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter, March 1, 1860
    Newark (OH) Advocate, “The Chicago Convention,” March 2, 1860
    William Wilkins to James Watson Webb, March 26, 1860
    San Francisco (CA) Evening Bulletin, “Seward the Republican Nominee,” April 25, 1860
    - Recollection by Henry C. Whitney, Republican National Convention, May 16-18, 1860
    Richmond (VA) Dispatch, “The Chicago Convention,” May 21, 1860
    Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, “Mr. Lincoln's Committals,” May 28, 1860
    New York Herald, “Commencement of Republican Cabinet Making,” June 12, 1860
    John L. Scripps to Abraham Lincoln, July 11, 1860
    John L. Scripps to Abraham Lincoln, July 17, 1860
    New York Herald, “Trouble Among the Republicans,” August 5, 1860
    New York Herald, “'Honest Old Abe' and His Cabinet,” August 14, 1860
    New York Herald, “Massachusetts Thoroughly Abolitionized,” September 7, 1860
    Dover (NH) Gazette, “Withdrawal of General Houston,” September 8, 1860
    New York Herald, “The Reign of Terror in Texas,” September 16, 1860
    New York Herald, “Helper and His Black Republican Endorsers,” October 28, 1860
    (Montpelier) Vermont Patriot, “Nullifying the Laws,” November 24, 1860
    New York Herald, “Greeley for Senator, Why Not?,” February 3, 1861
    Fayetteville (NC) Observer, “Mr. Lincoln’s Views,” February 7, 1861
    New York Herald, “Free Love and Passional Attraction in the New Administration,” February 13, 1861
    Fayetteville (NC) Observer, “Thurlow Weed,” February 14, 1861
    Fayetteville (NC) Observer, "4th of March," March 4, 1861
    Entry by George Templeton Strong, April 15, 1861
    Charleston (SC) Mercury, “Abolition Anticipations,” April 17, 1861
    Richmond (VA) Dispatch, “Horace Greeley,” May 8, 1861
    Charleston (SC) Mercury, “A Sucking Nelson,” May 13, 1861
    Charleston (SC) Mercury, “Lying Dexterity,” May 14, 1861
    Newark (OH) Advocate, “The Threats and Pressure Under which the President Acts,” July 12, 1861
    New York National Anti-Slavery Standard, "Mr. Conway’s Lecture," February 8, 1862
    Abraham Lincoln, Reply to Emancipation Memorial Presented by Chicago Christians of All Denominations, September 13, 1862
    Entry by Cornelia Peake McDonald, May 15, 1863
    Chicago Style Entry Link
    Greeley, Horace. Recollections of a Busy Life. New York: J. B. Ford & Co., 1869.
    view record
    Archer, Jules. Fighting Journalist: Horace Greeley. New York: J. Messner, 1966. view record
    Borchard, Gregory A. “From Pink Lemonade to Salt River: Horace Greeley's Utopia and the Death of the Whig Party.” Journalism History 32, no. 1 (2006): 22-33. view record
    Borchard, Gregory. "The New York Tribune At Harper's Ferry: 'Horace Greeley on Trial.'" American Journalism 20, no. 1 (2003): 13-31. view record
    Browne, Junius Henri. "Horace Greeley." Harper's New Monthly Magazine 46 (1873): 734-741 view record
    Caldwell, Martha B. "When Horace Greeley Visited Kansas in 1859." Kansas Historical Quarterly 9 (May 1940): 116-138. view record
    Cross, Coy F. Go West, Young Man!: Horace Greeley's Vision for America. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995. view record
    Fuller, Thomas. “‘Go West, Young Man!’ - An Elusive Slogan.” Indiana Magazine of History 100, 3 (2004): 231-242. view record
    Greeley, Horace. An Overland Journey, from New York to San Francisco in the Summer of 1859. New York: C. M. Saxton, Barker & Co., 1860. view record
    Hale, William Harlan. “When Karl Marx Worked for Horace Greeley.” American Heritage 8 (April 1957): 20-25, 110-111. view record
    Hale, William Harlan. Horace Greeley: Voice of the People. New York: Collier Books, 1950. view record
    Horner, Harlan Hoyt. Lincoln and Greeley. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1953. view record
    Isely, Jeter A. Horace Greeley and the Republican Party, 1853-61: A Study of the New York Tribune. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1947. view record
    Lunde, Erik S. Horace Greeley. Boston: Twayne, 1981. view record
    Maihafer, Harry J. The General and the Journalists: Ulysses S. Grant, Horace Greeley, and Charles Dana. Washington: Brassey’s, 1998. view record
    Mayer, Henry. All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998. view record
    McGinty, Brian. "Keep Your Seat, Horace." American West 20, no. 6 (1983): 67-69. view record
    Schulze, Suzanne. Horace Greeley: A Bio-Bibliography. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992. view record
    Stoddard, Henry Luther. Horace Greeley: Printer, Editor, Crusader. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1946. view record
    Tuchinsky, Adam-Max. “‘The Bourgeoisie Will Fall and Fall Forever’: The New-York Tribune, the 1848 French Revolution, and American Social Democratic Discourse.” Journal of American History 92, no. 2 (September 2005): 470-497. view record
    Van Deusen, Glyndon G. Horace Greeley: Nineteenth-Century Crusader. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953. view record
    Williams, Robert C. Horace Greeley: Champion of American Freedom. New York: New York University Press, 2006. view record
    How to Cite This Page: "Greeley, Horace," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,