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About this Item

Title: Horace Greeley

Creator: Walt Whitman [unsigned in original]

Date: April 19, 1842

Whitman Archive ID: per.00474

Source: New York Aurora 19 April 1842: [2]. Our transcription is based on a digital image of an original issue. Original issue held at the Paterson Free Public Library, Paterson, NJ. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the journalism, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This piece is unsigned. However, Whitman was the editor of the Aurora when this editorial was written, and Herbert Bergman identified him as its author in Walt Whitman, The Journalism. Volume I: 1834–1846 (New York: Peter Lang, 1998). The Whitman Archive editors agree that the style and content of the piece are consistent with other known Whitman writings of this period.

Contributors to digital file: Kevin McMullen and Jason Stacy

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It is well known among politicians, that the personage whose name heads this article is a perfect walking budget of facts, tables, and statistics. He knows all about imports and exports, banks, finances, elections, party prospects, and every thing else that can be learned by a careful investigation of registers, directories, and political almanacs.

Yet, as if to illustrate the inconsistency of philosophy with figures, we question whether a man in the empire state entertains so many absurd tenets in religion, such fallacious opinions of government and political economy, such short sighted notions of what are the land's true interests—as this same Mr. Horace Greeley.

The Tribune promulgates abolitionism, Fourier-ism,2 socialism, universalism, national bankism, high tarifism,3 and half a dozen other similarly contradictory systems. It might be amusing in no small degree, to hear Mr. G. attempt to reconcile these doctrines with one another. Hardly any two of them can go together with any more safety than the fox, goose, and corn, in the old nursery tale.


1. Horace Greeley (1811–1872) was editor of the New York Tribune and a prominent advocate of social and political reform. Greeley generally supported the Whig Party, though he ran for president as a Democrat in the election of 1872. [back]

2. Fourierism is an ideology and reform model based on the theories of Charles Fourier (1772–1832). Fourier argued that nascent capitalism undermined the social bonds upon which civilization was built. He therefore advocated for cooperative communities, called "phalanxes" where property was shared in kind and industrial production was undertaken communally. Throughout the nineteenth century, there were many attempts to put Fourier's theories into practice, most prominently Brook Farm in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, founded by George Ripley. Many prominent authors and social theorists visited and wrote about Brook Farm as representing the ideals and shortcomings of utopian communities, including Orestes Brownson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. [back]

3. Both the re-chartering of the National Bank and the institution of high tariffs were hallmarks of the Whig Party platform. [back]


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