Horace Greeley: Printer, Editor, Crusader

By Henry Luther Stoddard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
"Hold Firm as Steel"

LINCOLN ELECTED -- November 7, 1860! To many people it is a result that recalls Greeley's prophecy on January 5, 1854, of "the most gigantic, determined and overwhelming party the world has ever known. . . . Overcome it may be, but beaten it cannot be." Less than seven years later, here is the prophesied victory for that new party, and the Tribune jubilantly assures its readers that "the result may be to the highest good of the country will be the prayer of every patriot, every philanthropist and every Christian." Historian James Ford Rhodes wrote of the triumph: "I say emphatically that if you want to penetrate into the thoughts, feelings and grounds of decision of 1,866,000 men who voted for Lincoln, you should study the ' New York Weekly Tribune' through the campaign."

By supporting Lincoln, eighteen states north of the Mason and Dixon line had responded to the rousing editorial inquiry in the 1856 Frémont campaign, "Is There a North?" In the campaign just ended all four candidates for President -- Lincoln, Dougglas, Breckenridge and Bell -- resided in states that were wildernesses when the Union was formed and that now remained in it. Lincoln was the second President not born in the previous century, Franklin Pierce being the first. Still more significant was the choice of a President, a Vice-President and an entire cabinet, with not one man among them who then owned a slave or even sympathized with slavery. It had taken eighty years to secure such a national administration. Greeley hailed it as the dawn of the awaited era of human freedom.

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