On this day 211 years ago, Horace Greeley was born to Zaccheus and Mary Greeley. Greeley suffered issues the second he was born due to his inability to breath for the first twenty minutes of his life, which many biographers conclude may have led to him developing Asperger’s Syndrome. This has been attributed to many of Greeley’s eccentricities later in life.
Greeley begun to gain prominence during the 1840 campaign of William Henry Harrison, publishing the first Whig Party Periodical the Log Cabin, writing many of the Pro-Harrison songs that would be well known in the campaign. This publishing gave Greeley the incentive to begin publishing an daily newspaper, The New York Tribune. While working on the Tribune, he began publishing articles expressing his political views on topics that were generally cotroversial; speaking favorably of feminism, vegetarianism, abolitionism, and even an early version of Socialism coined by Charles Fourier. While working at the Tribune, he even hired Karl Marx to write for them. Greeley even served briefly in the United States Congress where he did not translate his platform that well, but another run for office became more notable.
In 1872, in the wake of political scandals surrounding Ulysses S. Grant, some Republicans were hesitant to renominate him. So a large number of Republican’s formed a political faction known as the Liberal Republicans to oppose his candidacy. The candidate they ended up putting forth was Greeley, due to his notoriety from working the Tribune. Greeley’s notoriety was too large to ignore, to the point that the Democratic Party decided to endorse him rather than run their own nominee. However, the Republicans took advantage of the Democrats affiliation with the Confederacy and Greeley’s longstanding views to paint his campaign as disorganized and Greeley ended up with only 43.8% of the Popular vote and only 66 Electoral Votes. However, Greeley ended up dying before the Electoral College counted their votes, so none of them ended up voting for him.