Horace Greeley 1811 - 1872
March 05, 2008
The New York Tribune was America’s most influential newspaper from the 1840s to the 1870s and ”established Greeley’s reputation as the greatest editor of his day.”
After the success of his Log Cabin Campaign, Greeley launched _The New York Tribune _which he edited for the rest of his life. Greeley revolutionised newspaper reporting by publishing good taste, highly intellectual items, lectures, book reviews and accurate political news such that the newspaper appealed to substantial and thoughtful people.
Greeley championed justice, abolitionism and the working man, he:
… attacked monopolies of all sorts and rejected land grants to railroads. Industry would make everyone rich, he insisted, as he promoted high tariffs. He supported vegetarianism, opposed liquor and paid serious attention to any “-ism” anyone proposed.
What made the ‘’Tribune’‘ such a success was the extensive news stories, very well written by brilliant reporters, together with feature articles by fine writers. He was an excellent judge of newsworthiness and quality of reporting.
Horace Greeley hired Samuel F Tappan as a correspondent. Tappan was an ardent abolitionist influenced by Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Parker and others. Tappan also did some writing for the Boston Atlas and several other newspapers and his association with William Lloyd Garrison ‘marked the appearance of an unprecedented moral crusade for “immediate abolition.”’
Greeley was a supporter of Albert Brisbane and his secular utopias based on the communitarian principles of French socialist Charles Fourier.
Horace Greeley… became so enthralled with Brisbane’s program that he published a magazine edited by Brisbane and in March, 1842, gave him a front-page column in the Tribune to trumpet the advantages of “Attractive Industry,” “Compound Economics,” “Democracy of Association,” the “Equilibrium of Passions,” and other principles of “a true organization of society.”
By owning property communally, pooling resources, and eliminating the social and economic distinctions that Brisbane understood to be at the root of social problems, phalanx members hoped to abolish pauperism, ignorance, and the resulting vices.
Inspired by the writings of Brisbane and Fourier, Greeley came to believe that the genial influences of Affection, Opportunity, Instruction and Hope the phalanx promised to cultivate would effect a moral transformation among its members.
In 1841, “warm friends” from New York City and Albany banded together to form The Sylvania Association, a joint stock company whose members invested their labor, capital, and talent “for the melioration of the condition of man and his moral and intellectual elevation.”
Greeley joined on as treasurer and promoted the venture in the pages of the Tribune. In April 1842, the Sylvania Association put down $1,000 towards the purchase of more than thirty two thousand acres at the mouth of the Lackawaxon Creek in Pike County, Pennsylvania. Here they would build the United States’ first Fourierite phalanx.
Within three years the Association had sunk close to $14,000 into the venture. Having made a significant financial investment in the venture, Horace Greeley held the deed to the association property. He sold the property in 1851 and subsequently made little mention of the failed experiment.
In the 1840s and 1850s Americans established more than forty Fourierite phalanxes in the United States, six of which were located in Pennsylvania. Although none lasted more than a few years, they marked the first great flowering of secular experiments in communitarian living.
"In effect, this home was a sort of communal hotel or boardinghouse for Individual Sovereigns--such as an apostate monk, a homeopathic physician, an opera baritone, and many authors, including . . . the poet [Edmund Clarence Stedman](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Clarence_Stedman)".
Andrews also garnered attention for his support of female suffrage and his work to make Victoria Woodhull a candidate for President of the United States of America.
He campaigned for women physicians (Greeley’s cousin Jane Lincoln Greeley became a doctor) and Greeley escorted Anna Manning Comfort to the podium to receive her homeopathic graduation diploma from her aunt Clemence Lozier’s Homeopathic College in the presence of Wendell Phillips, Henry Ward Beecher, Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Julia Ward Howe, Lucretia Mott, William Lloyd Garrison and Parker Pillsbury.
Greeley also advocated vegetarianism and social justice, and he lectured at the Boston Lyceum alongside Wendell Phillips, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Bancroft, Theodore Parker, Orestes Brownson, Charles Thomas Jackson, James Freeman Clarke, Charles Lane, and Ephraim W. Bull.
“I shall gladly lay them aside whenever good manners begin to prevail. I think I shall be found competent to the interchange of gentlemanly courtesies when gentlemanly courtesies are in demand.
“Indeed, I decidedly prefer the atmosphere of the parlor to that of the “ring,” but I endeavor, at the same time, to adapt myself to the nature of circumstances and of men.
By his own account Greeley suffered from sleep-related problems, most likely insomnia, long before his death. He also apparently contracted malaria in 1870.
Additionally, in an interview with a New York Sun reporter, a homeopathic doctor, who treated Greeley in 1862 (after the Battle of Bull Run) for health problems similar to those reported at the time of Greeley’s death, thought he died of exhaustion and that he was mentally stable…
In a little over a month, Greeley lost his wife of many years, the election of 1872, and his controlling interest in The New York Tribune before his death on November 29,1872.