H I C A G O
R I B U T E
Journalist and mayor of Chicago
direction, the paper took a strong
stand against slavery. An ardent abolitionist, he
opposed the expansion of slavery into the western
United States, which he believed should be open to
any citizen willing to settle and farm the land.
Medill was one of the
founders of the Republican Party, and he played a central role in Abraham
Lincolns nomination for president in 1860, orchestrating demonstrations
inside and outside the convention hall in Chicago and garnering support
from other powerful Republicans.
Medills most famous
editorial, written before the embers had cooled from the Great Fire of 1871,
exhorted Chicagoans to Cheer Up!, predicting the city would
rise from its ashes. Elected mayor a month later on the Fireproof Party
ticket, he presided over the creation of Chicagos Fire limits,
a central-city area within which buildings had to be constructed of brick
or stone rather than wood.
The Tribunes rise
to prominence under Medill mirrored Chicagos growth. He took the Tribune
from a small, frontier paper to a major force in American journalism and
an editorial champion of Middle America.