Horace Greeley: Founder of the New York Tribune

By Don C. Seitz | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER VIII
THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

HORACE GREELEY did not bring the Republican party into being, but the things he so ardently advocated did. He was, or thought he was, a firm Whig, and believed the party safe, though it had met no issues and had been deeply honeycombed by Free Soilers, Know-Nothings and anti-slavery agitators. Webster and Clay had taken it with them to the tomb, though Greeley seems, with all his political prescience, to have been unaware of the fact. Neither abolitionists, Know-Notbings nor Free Soilers rallied many votes. Greeley believed the party could be pulled together, though all the while doing his best to pull it apart. As a party it refused to take up the burning issue as its own, and so made way for a successor.

Major-General Winfield Scott, Commander-in- Chief of the Army and conqueror of Mexico, had been nominated for president in 1852 on the theory that a "hero" could win as Zachary Taylor did. This "hero" wrote some silly letters and said some silly things, and besides this, the Whigs endorsed the Fugitive Slave Law. The result was the election of Franklin Pierce, and the passing of Whig potency.

The Kansas-Nebraska Bill came into being and the question of slavery extension turned acute. Feeling the need of a new party, Alvan. E. Bovay, born in

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