William Cullen Bryant was born in Cummington, Massachusetts, on November 3, 1794. A lawyer by training, he tired of the profession after 10 years in practice and moved to New York City in 1825, where he became the editor of the New York Review and Atheneum Magazine. Undaunted by the publication's failure the following year, he remained in the city and signed on as an editorial assistant with the New York Evening Post, eventually rising to part owner and editor in chief.
Bryant used the Post to crusade for the causes in which he believed, among them free trade, free speech, and the abolition of slavery. A leader of the anti-slavery Free-Soil movement within the Democratic Party, he was one of the founders of the Republican Party. He was also an early political backer of Abraham Lincoln and a staunch supporter of the Union during the War Between the States.
Among Bryant's major works were Thanatopsis and his own versions of The Illyiad and The Odyssey. After living a long life and amassing great wealth, Bryant died after a fall in 1878. He was 84 years old.
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Last modified 16-April-2001