Go West, Young Man!

IMG_4887At the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in lower Manhattan, tucked into a corner of City Hall Park, you will find a statue of Horace Greeley.

A titan in his day, an ardent opponent of slavery, and publisher of the most famous newspaper in the land — the New York Tribune — Greeley is largely forgotten now, except for one claim to fame.  He is reportedly the person who wrote “Go west, young man!” and thereby captured, in four simple words, the concept of America in the 1800s, where opportunity and freedom could be found to the west, on the American frontier.

It’s a bit shocking to learn from Wikipedia that Greeley may never have written those words.  But the sentiment underlying the four words still rings true, regardless of who may have been their original author.  The essence of America is the freedom to pursue opportunity — however that opportunity may be defined and in whatever compass direction it may be found.

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