Greeley's Southern Tour

 “Mr. Greeley at the South”
  Source:  Harper’s Weekly
  Date:   June 17, 1871, p. 546

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
Horace Greeley had supported Republican Ulysses S. Grant’s successful presidential candidacy in 1868 and, initially, his administration, as well.  Yet over time, the Tribune editor’s doubts about the quality of President Grant’s leadership multiplied.  In early May 1871, Greeley declared in an editorial that although he had freely expressed his reservations about Grant in private conversation, he had hoped to defer a public declaration until the winter.  While basically in accord with administration policies, Greeley suggested that he had a problem with the notion of two consecutive terms:  “It is certainly true that we are not seeking the re-election of Gen. Grant as President.”

Immediately thereafter, Greeley departed on a three-week journey through the South just as matters were coming to a boil in the struggle between The New York Times and Harper’s Weekly versus the Tweed Ring.  The ostensible purpose of the trip into previously dangerous territory for a former abolitionist and radical Republican was to deliver an address, entitled “Suggestions to Farmers,” on May 23 at the Texas State Fair in Houston.  On other occasions there, Greeley touched repeatedly on current politics and sectional problems.  His remarks attracted wide attention in the press and generated speculation that he might be considering a run for national office.  Upon his return to New York, a Harper’s Weekly editorial (June 17, 1871) summarized Greeley’s message that the North and South should “let by-gones be by-gones,” that the Tribune editor’s political future “was in the hands of his friends,” and that President Grant should not seek a second term.



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