Who said "Go West, Young Man"?
By Tim Soles
This article was originally published in the December 2000 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society.
In 1869, Harper's Weekly called Horace Greeley "the most perfect Yankee the country has ever produced." Editor, politician, and founder of the New York Tribune, Greeley began his career as a Whig and in 1856 helped establish the new Republican Party. Greeley advocated reform in every sphere, supporting temperance, Transcendentalism, labour unions, and scores of other, less significant causes. His ability to express his idealistic, moral positions in clear, memorable prose won loyal readers for the Tribune. In the 1840s, he urged a generation to "Go West, young man."
John Soule, an Indiana newspaperman, was the one who actually used those words--"Go West, young man"-- in 1851, over ten years after Greeley wrote in his weekly New Yorker that "If you have no family or friends to aid you . . . turn your face to the Great West and there build up your home and fortune." It was the first of many such pronouncements, and Soule, like most of his colleagues in what was then considered "the West," regularly exchanged intelligence with the Tribune.
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