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Horace Greeley

Horace Greeley (February 3, 1811 – November 29, 1872) was editor of the New-York Tribune, among the great newspapers of its time. Long active in politics, he served briefly as a congressman from New York, and was the candidate of the Democratic and Liberal Republican parties in the 1872 presidential election. He was defeated by President Ulysses S. Grant, and died before the casting of the electoral vote.

Born to a poor family in New Hampshire, Greeley was apprenticed to a printer in Vermont, and in 1831 went to New York City to seek his fortune. He wrote for or edited several publications, and involved himself in Whig Party politics, taking a significant part in William Henry Harrison's successful 1840 presidential campaign. The following year, he founded the Tribune, which through weekly editions sent by mail became the highest-circulating newspaper in the country. Among many other issues, he urged the settlement of the American West, which he saw as a land of opportunity for the young and the unemployed. He popularized the phrase "Go West, young man, and grow up with the country," although it is uncertain whether it originated with him.

Greeley's alliance with William H. Seward and Thurlow Weed led to him serving three months in the House of Representatives, where he angered many by investigating Congress in his newspaper. He helped found the Republican Party in 1854, but about then broke with Seward and Weed, backing other presidential candidates against Seward at the 1860 Republican National Convention, and supporting the nominee, Abraham Lincoln. When the Civil War broke out, he mostly supported Lincoln, though urging him to commit to the end of slavery before the president was willing to do so. After Lincoln's assassination, he supported the Radical Republicans in opposition to President Andrew Johnson.

Leading against the corruption of Grant's Republican administration, Greeley was the new Liberal Republican Party's candidate in the 1872 U.S. presidential election. Despite having the additional support of the Democratic Party, he lost in a landslide. Devastated at the defeat, he died three weeks later. Greeley is the only major-party presidential candidate to have died prior to the electoral vote being cast.

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