Horace Greeley: Printer, Editor, Crusader

By Henry Luther Stoddard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
"Shaking Tyler Over the Warm Place"

THERE WERE MANY discouragements for Greeley during his thirty years as editor and politician, but none that affected him more keenly than the unhappy plight of his beloved Whig party as well as the fading presidential prospects for his still more beloved Henry Clay when William Henry Harrison died one month after inauguration as President. Clay was to Greeley "the eagle-eyed, genial-hearted, living master-spirit of our time." With Harrison in the White House, almost seventy years old and pledged to a single term, the Kentucky aspirant had promise of strong administration support to succeed him as President; until then old "Tippecanoe" would, of course, bear the title but Clay would be the acknowledged "keeper of the palace" and hold the Whig majority in Congress under his leadership. With "Tippecanoe" dead and fifty-one-year-old Tyler in the White House, unpledged to a single term and uncertain in his Whig loyalty, there was no such prospect.

The story of " John Tyler, President" is well known, but the story of the futile efforts of Greeley (aged thirty) and his just- born Tribune to hold the "accidental" President to Whig doctrine is not. The situation was ideal for the young editor, for it gave him opportunity to impress his newspaper nationally. Success in that respect, however, was Greeley's only triumph throughout the "roaring forties," as that decade was often termed. Fortunately, that one triumph was big and lasting. During those ten years Greeley was to see Clay go down in a second and final defeat for

-72-

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