walt whitman

A World of Politics

Thesis: Walt Whitman was a man who used his thoughts on political issues

concerning the Civil War within his writings because of many experiences

he had encountered.

Whenever ever the term "political writing" comes up, most people would

think of Walt Whitman. Walt Whitman was one of the most popular political

writers of all times. "Nearly everyone agrees that Walt Whiman is America

’s greatest poet" (Unger 331). "Whitman’s ideas and attitudes were

chiefly those of the Romantic Movement" (Foerster 719) .

Some of Whitman’s most popular writing were Leaves of Grass, A Song of

Myself, and Drum-Taps. Leaves of Grass is a poem mostly concerning

Whitman’s childhood and memories, this is one of Whitman’s fewer poem’s

that does not contain politics. A Song of Myself is a poem where Whitman

expresses himself as a homosexual, this is also one of his fewer poems

concerning politics. "Drum-Taps" was written during the time Whitman was

serving as a doctor during the Civil War. "Drum-Taps" consists of what

Whitman himself had seen and experienced during the Civil War.

I. Beginning of a great career

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A. Growing up

1. Raised by grandparents

a. They filled him with a love of nature and humankind

b. Grandmother told Walt tales of the Revolution

2. Worked as an editor of a newspaper

a. Learned many current politics

b. Was kicked out because of an anti-slavery post

B. Published his first poem Leaves of Grass

1. A great success

2. People either disliked or liked it

II. Influenced by Lincoln and the Civil War

A. Aided as a doctor for the wounded

1. Helped his brother George out when he was wounded

2. Wrote Many poems on what he saw

a. "Drum-Taps"

b. "Sequel to drum-Taps"

B. A strong supporter of Lincoln

1. Wrote three poems concerning Lincoln

a. "O Captain! My Captain!"

b. "Hush’d be the Camps Today"

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c. "This Dust Was Once the Man"

2. Believed Lincoln was the greatest president of all time

III. Whitman’s thoughts and ideas

A. Whitman id not care about the means of achieving a truly democratic


B. Whitman believed that the true story of the Civil War would never get

into the books.

C. Did not believe in slavery

a. Reasons for supporting Lincoln

b. Was despised by people because of his beliefs

D. Whitman believed that the present theory of our army and navy is

sensible and true, then the rest of America is an ummigrated fraud

E. Whitman believed that America, for all its troubles, alone possessed

the prerequisites for a great moral and religious civilization

"Many Critics believe that Whitman’s Civil War experiences destroyed

him as a poet, because in the post war years he rarely wrote with his

earlier inspiration and produced few great poems" (Moore 8). But

Whitman would not have been known for his political writings if it wasn’t

for the Civil War. "Whitman’s poetry was a celebration of the common man,

of American democracy, and of sexuality, conveyed through a revolutionary

and rhapsodic free verse" (7). "After the war, he would celebrate the

democracy itself, not merely the poet" (Miller 133).



Word Count: 530

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