Name:  Manton Malone Marble

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Born:  November 16, 1834
Died:  July 24, 1917
Complete HarpWeek Biography:
Manton Marble was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Nancy Coes Marble and Joel Marble, a teacher. Young Marble attended school in Albany, New York, where his family had moved in 1840. He continued his studies at Rochester University, working as an apprentice for the Rochester American newspaper. After graduating in 1855, he edited two Boston newspapers, then took an editorial position with the New York Evening Post in 1858. Two years later he took a job as night editor for the New York World, which had just begun publication, and became its chief editor in 1862. Financed by wealthy New York Democrats, such as August Belmont and Samuel Tilden, Marble made the daily newspaper into the chief organ of the Democratic party in New York City.

The World backed the Union military cause during the Civil War, but criticized Lincoln administration policies, especially emancipation, government centralization, and violations of civil liberties. It became a victim itself of press censorship when the military briefly suspended its publication for printing an article on the alleged defeatist attitude of the Lincoln White House. During the 1864 presidential campaign the World endorsed George McClellan, the Democratic nominee, and stood against racial equality by playing on white fears of miscegenation (a word the paper coined). Also in 1864, Marble married Delia West, who died four years later; they had two children.

Marble opposed the Reconstruction policies of the Radical Republicans, but after heavy Democratic losses in the 1866 elections, he advised fellow partisans to accept voting rights for black men as a fait accompli. In the 1868 race for the Democratic presidential nomination, he supported Salmon Chase, an advocate of black voting rights and of amnesty for former Confederates. Chase lost to Horatio Seymour, who was soundly defeated by Union war hero U. S. Grant in the general election. In the 1872 election, Marble joined other Democrats to endorse the candidacy of Liberal Republican Horace Greeley. Thereafter, Marble became a leading promoter of Samuel Tilden, who was elected governor of New York in 1874 and narrowly lost the disputed presidential election of 1876 to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. Allegations that Marble attempted to bribe a Florida elector were never proven.

Marble established the World as a major force in American journalism and in 1866 beat out both the New York Herald and the Associated Press for control of news transmitted by the transatlantic telegraph cable. By 1868 he personally had controlling interest in the journal and was able to become independent of the Democratic party. Readership declined, however, and the paper suffered heavy financial losses during the depression of the early 1870s. In 1876 Marble sold the World to Thomas A. Scott, a railroad mogul.

Marble married Abby Williams Lambard in 1879; they had no children. He became an advocate of bimetallism, the free coinage of both gold and silver as the money standard. He promoted this view by ghost-writing the 1885 and 1886 Treasury Reports of Daniel Manning, secretary of the treasury in the Democratic administration of Grover Cleveland. Marble became frustrated and angry when the president decided to push for tariff reform instead of monetary reform, so the former journalist concentrated his efforts on electing David Hill governor of New York on a "free silver" platform. Marble continued to urge international bimetallism in the second Cleveland administration, but made little headway. In the late 1890s he moved to England, where he died.

Source consulted: American National Biography











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