New Books Network

James M. Lundberg

Horace Greeley

Print, Politics, and the Failure of American Nationhood

Johns Hopkins University Press 2019

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in BiographyNew Books in CommunicationsNew Books in HistoryNew Books in JournalismNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 30, 2020 Mark Klobas

During his nearly four decades as a newspaper editor and politician, Horace Greeley embraced a range of controversial causes. In his book Horace Greeley:...

During his nearly four decades as a newspaper editor and politician, Horace Greeley embraced a range of controversial causes. In his book Horace Greeley: Print, Politics, and the Failure of American Nationhood (Johns Hopkins UP, 2019), James M. Lundberg finds within his seemingly contradictory positions a consistent belief in the power of print to forge American nationalism. This Lundberg traces to his upbringing in a Protestant American culture which valued greatly the power of reading. Upon arriving in New York City in 1831 Greeley embarked on a career as a journalist and editor, and was a key figure in the shift away from relatively expensive periodicals to the mass-produced daily newspapers. His New-York Tribune gave Greeley a prominent platform from which he advocated for his nationalist vision, and he was a visible participant in the increasingly divisive political debates of the 1840s and 1850s. As an opponent of both slavery and secession, Greeley championed both a vigorous prosecution of the war and, with the Union’s victory in 1865, a swift reconciliation of the two sides, with the latter stance alienating many of his former allies and playing a key role in his nomination as Ulysses S. Grant’s challenger in the presidential election of 1872.