Go West Young Man – Horace Greeley – 1871

Horace Greeley to R.L. Sanderson

New York, New York


New York, Nov. 15, 1871.

dear Sir:

So many people ask me what they shall do; so few tell me what they can do. Yet this is the pivot wherein all must turn.

I believe that each of us who has his place to make should go where men are wanted, and where employment is not bestowed as alms. Of course, I say to all who are in want of work, Go West!

But what can you do? and how can your family help you? Your mother, I infer, is to be counted out as an effective worker. But what of the rest? And you – can you chop? Can you plow? Can you mow? Can you cut up Indian corn? I reckon not. And in the west it is hard to find such work as you have been accustomed to. The conditions of living are very rude there.

On the whole I say, stay where you are; do as well as you can; and devote every spare hour to making yourself familiar with the conditions and dexterity required for the efficient conservation of out-door industry in a new country. Having mastered these, gather up your family and Go West! Yours,

Horace Greeley


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