William Cullen Bryant

William Cullen Bryant

William Cullen Bryant was born in Cummington, Massachusetts, on 3rd November, 1794. He studied law in Bridgewater before being admitted to the bar in 1815.

While working as an attorney in Plainfield and Great Barrington, Bryant established himself as a literary figure with The Embargo (1808), Thanatopsis (1817) and Poems (1821). In 1825 Bryant moved to New York City where he become co-editor of the New York Review.

In 1827 Bryant was recruited by the New York Evening Post and became editor two years later. Bryant, who remained in control for the next fifty years, was a strong opponent of slavery and gave support to the emerging trade union movement. In June, 1836, Bryant defended the striking Society of Journeyman Tailors by linking the issue with slavery: "They are condemned because they are determined not to work for the wages offered them. If this is not slavery, we have forgotten its definition."

Originally a member of the Free Soil Party, he helped establish the Republican Party was established at Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854. William Cullen Bryant remained editor of the New York Evening Post until his death on 12th June, 1878.

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) William Cullen Bryant, New York Evening Post (13th June, 1836)

They are condemned because they are determined not to work for the wages offered them. If this is not slavery, we have forgotten its definition. Strike the right of associating for the sale of labour from the privileges of a freeman, and you may as well as once bind him to a master.