Published Works


About this Item

Title: Chicago

Creator: unknown

Date: December 8, 1884

Whitman Archive ID: per.00016

Source: Toronto World 8 December 1884: [1]. Our transcription is based on a digital image of a microfilm copy of an original issue. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the periodical poems, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang and Susan Belasco

image 1


—By Walt Whitman.
I have looked thee over and taken thy meas-
ure thou Golgotha of the west. Thou callest
thyself the garden city!
You claim to be the centre of the new dem-
ocracy, of the great free west, of the land of
But with all thy democracy doth a man earn
a living easier within thy borders, or have a
happier time because thereof?
Does he not toil harder, have coarser fare,
longer hours and a lower margin of subsist-
ence? For a city of democracy must be judged
by the status of its toilers and by the fine
houses of her pork-packing princes.
Are not your workers being supplanted by
Chinaman, by Polack and by Italian, who
live on a much lower plane?
And does not the great blot of slavery show
in thy streets more pointedly almost than
anywhere else in a lot of diseased niggers?
Blood is the bans of the hustling prosperity
that now attends you and an adept pig-sticker
is the embodiment of thy manhood!


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.