Horace Greeley, Nineteenth-Century Crusader

By Glyndon G. Van Deusen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 22
Pursuit of the Dream

NEW YORK CITY, MICROCOSM OF THE NATION, WAS an opulent, rollicking, roistering city at the dawn of the Gilded Age, a town filled to the brim with diamonded men, richly bejeweled women, smooth stock operators, worthy poor, toughs, bums, bawdy houses, faro dens, fortunetellers, a modicum of esthetes and moralists and an over-all reverence for silver and gold. Walt Whitman, visiting the metropolis in the fall of 1870, was given a sense of exaltation by the splendor and the color, the rich shops, the costly buildings, the scarcely ever interrupted roar of the city traffic, the "hurrying, feverish, electric crowds of men. . . ." Then, looking below the surface of all this rush and glitter, he was appalled by the lack of high standards, the flippancy and vulgarity and low cunning that he saw on every hand. 1

New York's sprawling population (the city proper had not quite reached the million mark by 1870, but well-nigh 2,000,000 people drew their sustenance from its factories, wharves, and stores) still swarmed and struggled amid the most violent contrasts of poverty and affluence. The nation's industrial development was beginning to move with rapidity toward the great achievements of the age, and for New York this meant an era of suffering for the sweated poor, but also of booming trade, of dazzling ventures that ranged from railroads to real estate, of operas and symphonies (whether in music or in steel), of flamboyant parties where toasts were drunk in costly vintages, of Saratoga holidays, European jaunts, international marriages, a sybaritic flaunting of incomes, a megalomaniac voracity of desire. It meant that, even before 1870, there was beginning to develop an enormous concentration of wealth in the hands of a small minority of the city's inhabitants.

In 1869, the Tribune published in a quadruple-sheet edition the income taxes of thirty-seven columns of New Yorkers. Of these men,

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Horace Greeley, Nineteenth-Century Crusader
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Horace Greeley - Nineteenth-Century Crusader *
  • Dorace Greeley - Nineteenth-Century Crusader *
  • Acknowledgment *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations *
  • Dorace Greeley - Nineteenth-Century Crusader *
  • Prologue *
  • Chapter 1 - Youth of a Yankee *
  • Chapter 2 - The Slopes of Parnassus *
  • Chapter 3 - A Budding Politician *
  • Chapter 4 - A Bride and an Alliance *
  • Chapter 5 - Microcosms *
  • Chapter 6 - This Brave New World *
  • Chapter 7 - Not So Brave and Not So New *
  • Chapter 8 - Soundings *
  • Chapter 9 - The Crystallization of a "Liberal" Program *
  • Chapter 10 - A Strong-Minded Adjutant *
  • Chapter 11 - Crisis and Schism *
  • Chapter 12 - The Greeleys at Home *
  • Chapter 13 - Interlude *
  • Chapter 14 - A Disruption of Partnerships *
  • Chapter 15 - A Republican Operator *
  • Chapter 16 - Greeley's Battle *
  • Chapter 17 - A Demonstration of Independence *
  • Chapter 18 - A Nationalist at Bay *
  • Chapter 19 - Windswept *
  • Chapter 20 - Storm-Tossed *
  • Chapter 21 - "For You O Democracy" *
  • Chapter 22 - Pursuit of the Dream *
  • Chapter 23 - Valiant Battle *
  • Chapter 24 - And Still the Quest *
  • Chapter 25 - The End of the Rainbow *
  • Epilogue *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
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