In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: there are leading moral truths

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1855

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00019

Source: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: Whitman probably drafted this manuscript around 1855. Based on the handwriting and the size of the scrap, Edward Grier dates it to the 1850s, though he also notes that an archival notation on the mounting page next to the manuscript dates it to 1870 (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 6:2140). Wording and ideas in the manuscript bear some resemblance to sentences in "Walt Whitman and His Poems," a review Whitman wrote of the first (1855) edition of Leaves of Grass. The review was published in The United States Review in September, 1855. It was also part of a series of reviews printed separately and included in some copies of the 1855 edition.

Contributors to digital file: Caitlin Henry and Nicole Gray

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I say that there are certain leading moral truths underlying politics as eternal invariable and reliable and [illegible] as arethe leading truths in geology, chemistry or mathematics.—These truths lie at the are the foundation of American politics:

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