Thurlow Weed does not sound like a modern name, and indeed it isn’t. The man who sported that moniker was born in 1797 and died in 1882. If you were unaware that he ever existed, you are safely in the majority, so don’t feel bad.
Thurlow Weed would have been completely out of place on today’s college campuses. He never went to college. Or high school. He didn’t need “safe spaces.”
Mr. Weed grew up on a small family farm in upstate New York.
He began supporting himself at the age of 8.
He joined the army when he was 16- during the War of 1812. Once the British were defeated, he became a newspaper apprentice.
He had his own newspaper by the time he was 21.
In 1823, he ran for the state assembly. He won. He went on to help found New York’s Whig Party. When the Whig Party splintered and dissolved he became a Republican. He was an ardent supporter of john Quincy Adams and was instrumental in the presidential nominations of William Henry Harrison, Henry Clay, Zachary Taylor, Winfield Scott and John Charles Fremont.
Millenials on most college campuses today have never heard of him either. This is probably fortunate. The recounting of his history of hard labor as a child, of his independence and self-support before entering his teens and of his military service while in his teens would send them scrambling for their safe places and Play-Doh.
And his name? You can be sure they’d ‘be like’: “Dude, this dude’s name is Thurlow, ha hah…Thurlow Weed man! Ha, Ha..ha, hah! Wonder if he was a stoner, ha, ha. Like, ya’ think, dude?”
Thank goodness for “higher education.”