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  Name:  Manton Malone Marble
  Born:  November 16, 1834
  Died:  July 24, 1917

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Marble, Manton Malone (November 16, 1834 – July 24, 1917)

Manton Marble was editor of the New York World, a leading Democratic newspaper.

He was born in 1834 in Worcester, Massachusetts, but 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, and then took an editorial position with the New York Evening Post in 1858. Two years later, he accepted 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.

After the Civil War, 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 an accomplished fact. In the 1868 contest 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 then soundly defeated by General Ulysses S. Grant, the Union war hero, in the general election.  During the 1872 presidential campaign, Marble joined other Democrats to endorse the candidacy of Liberal Republican Horace Greeley, who was defeated in the general election by President Grant. 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 proved.

Over the years, Marble had 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 Democratic Party oversight, although he continued to support Democratic policies and candidates. 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, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad.  Three years later, Marble married Abby Williams Lambard; the couple had no children. 

In the 1870s, Marble became an advocate of bimetallism, the coinage of both gold and silver as the money standard.  He promoted this view by ghostwriting 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 B. Hill governor of New York on a “free silver” platform.  Marble continued during the second Cleveland administration (1893–1897) to urge international bimetallism, but made little headway.  In the late 1890s, Marble moved to England, where he died in 1917. 

Source consulted:  George McJimsey, “Marble, Manton Malone,” American National Biography (online).


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