From 1834 to 1840, Greeley served as editor and co-owner of several New York publications. These periodicals, which were devoted to literature and politics, increased Gree-ley's reputation among the city's publishers and politicians. But he did not become famous until 1841, when he launched the New York Tribune.
Guided by Greeley's steady hand, the Tribune quickly became one of America's largest and most respected newspapers. "With its brilliant staff, exciting editorials, broad coverage of international and national events, the Tribune set a new standard for American journalism," wrote Lewis Leary in Horace Greeley.
Greeley's newspaper increased in popularity throughout the 1840s and early 1850s. As the audience for Greeley's wide-ranging newspaper editorials grew, he became powerfully influential in shaping public opinion in the Northern states. "Greeley's positions in his editorials represented some of the most important trends of public, social, and political commentary of the day," wrote Leary. For example, he be came a leading advocate of women's rights and a strong defender of temperance, a movement that called for people to quit drinking alcohol. He also emerged as a leading critic of American laws and land distribution that favored rich people over farmers and laborers. As Greeley wrote in 1851, "if democracy be what we believe, it must have a wider and more perfect application [usage]. It must create a new social as well as a new political system. It must reform the relations of labor, of property and of social life, nor stop till all servitude [slavery], all castes [social classes], all inequality of privilege have disappeared to give place to . . . liberty, justice and fraternal [brotherly] cooperative relations."
By the 1850s, Greeley was known across the country for his support of policies that he thought might eliminate poverty and improve opportunities for poor and uneducated people. This concern for the poor led Greeley to become a leading champion of settlement of western territories, even though he thought that much of that land had been unfairly snatched from Mexico during the Mexican War (1846-48). He proclaimed that "I believe in migration—believe that there are thousands in the Eastern and Middle Western states who would improve their circumstances and prospects by migrating to the cheaper lands and broader opportunities of the West and South." In fact, Greeley popularized the slogan "Go West, young man," a famous expression associated with the settlement of the West.
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