A writer, orator, and advocate for civil service reform, George William Curtis (1824-1892) was born on this day in Providence, Rhode Island.
"Happiness lies, first of all, in health," he once said. While in his twenties, George and his brother Burrill were mentored by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau and lived for a time at the utopian colony of Brook Farm.
He said, "It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage."
Curtis traveled throughout Europe, Egypt, and Syria and wrote of his adventures. Turning to journalism, he wrote editorial columns for Harpers Weekly, from 1853 to 1892, during the Civil War and gained the reputation of being a leader of the public conscience and shaping public opinion.
"While we read history we make history," Curtis said.
A popular lecturer, he inspired many with his ideas against corruption and slavery and in favor of woman's suffrage and civil service reform, what he called "liberty under law." With passion, he celebrated a "confidence in his cause."
A founder and leader of the Republican party, he became a so called "Mugwump" in 1884, turning from who he considered a corrupt candidate,James G. Blaine, to vote for Grover Cleveland, a Democrat.
Proud to be an independent thinker and a man of honor, he said, "A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle."
You are what you feel... Celebrate!