Horace Greeley and the Politics of Reform in Nineteenth-Century America

By (author) Mitchell Snay

Hardback - £43.00

Publication date:

29 August 2011

Length of book:

216 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9780742551008

Horace Greeley (1811–1872) was a major figure in nineteenth century American history. As a newspaper editor, politician, and reformer, Greeley was involved with the major events and trends of the era. He was the influential editor of the New York Tribune from 1841 until his death and was instrumental in the rise of the Whig and Republican parties.

Snay's biography places Greeley in his historical context—considering the ways that he shaped and was influenced by the rise of the Jacksonian party system, the varieties of antebellum reform, the evolution of urban class relations, and the politics of slavery and emancipation.
Snay (history, Denison Univ.; Fenians, Freedmen, and Southern Whites) considers Greeley (1811–72) in his roles as New York Tribune founder and editor, perennial political aspirant, and reformer. A leading member of the Whig and Republican parties, Greeley fought slavery and championed temperance, land reform, and a modified version of women’s rights (without the suffrage) against Jacksonian Democrats and their successors. Frequently citing the work of other scholars, Snay emphasizes the contradictions in Greeley’s simultaneous promotion of unions and class harmony, capitalism and cooperation; his morality-based pacifism and his support for the Civil War; and his anti-slavery stance and simultaneous aversion to the active federal role in Reconstruction. Opposing antebellum expansion that extended the territory of slaveholders while believing that free land would alleviate many social and economic ills, this lifelong tariff proponent died shortly after running for President. VERDICT Snay’s survey of this important public life in an era when the country was transitioning from an agrarian to an industrial state is written in an instructor’s explanatory tone, suitable for students and general readers alike.