Horace Greeley

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The illusion that times that were are better than those that are, has probably pervaded all ages.

Horace Greeley (February 3, 1811November 29, 1872) was an American editor of a leading newspaper, New York Tribune, a founder of the Liberal Republican Party, a reformer and a politician.



  • If any young man is about to commence the world, we say to him, publicly and privately, Go to the West.
    • As quoted in New Yorker (25 August 1838); often paraphrased as "Go west, young man, and grow up with the country", sometimes misattributed to John L. Soule [1]


  • The illusion that times that were are better than those that are, has probably pervaded all ages.
    • As quoted in 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 (29 May 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 (1893), edited by Joel Benton, p. 78


  • 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", as quoted in "Grab-bag Education", The Book of Journeyman (1930) by Albert Jay Nock

Quotes about Greeley[edit]

  • While I think as badly of slavery as Horace Greeley did, I am not ashamed that my family were slaveholders. It was our inheritance. Neither am I ashamed that my ancestors were pirates and cattle thieves. People must be judged by the standard of their own age. If it was right to own slaves as property, it was right to fight for it.

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