- The illusion that times that were are better than those that are, has probably pervaded all ages.
- The American Conflict, A History of the Great Rebellion (1864).
- My leading idea was the establishment of a journal removed alike from servile partisanship on the one hand and from gagged, mincing neutrality on the other.
- The masses of our countrymen, North and South, are eager to clasp hands across the bloody chasm which has so long divided them.
- Acceptance of Liberal Republican nomination as President (May 29, 1872).
- The Republic needed to be passed through chastening, purifying fires of adversity and suffering: so these came and did their work and the verdure of a new national life springs greenly, luxuriantly, from their ashes.
- Greeley on Lincoln, ed. Joel Benton, pp. 78–79 (1893).
- If any young man is about to commence the world, we say to him, publicly and privately, Go to the West.
- New Yorker, Aug. 25, 1838; often paraphrased as "Go west, young man, and grow up with the country"
- Sometimes misattributed to John L. Soule
- There aren't half enough of them going there as it is.
- Reply to a missionary who asked Greeley for a subscription to "help keep people from going to hell".
- Quoted by Albert Jay Nock, Grab-bag Education, The Book of Journeyman (1930).