Whitman’s Impact on the Civil War: Induction into the Civil War Hall of Fame

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Dear Civil War Hall of Fame,

Today, I write to you with the interest of inducting Walt Whitman into the Civil War Hall of Fame. Whitman’s role in the war often goes unrecognized due to the wider publication of articles on people like Abraham Lincoln or Ulysses S. Grant. Now, don’t get me wrong, both of the previously mentioned people played important roles in the Civil War, but Walt Whitman also made positive contributions to the war in the United States. From growing up with a hard life, as many Americans did at the time, to writing poetry to document the war in a way that many were unable to, Walt took a different approach to help the country in a time of great need. Walt Whitman should be inaugurated into the Civil War Hall of Fame due to his anti-slavery beliefs, the time he spent taking care of soldiers, along with the documentation of their stories, and for writing Leaves of Grass.

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Standing Firm Against Slavery and Advocating Equality

Walt Whitman began his life in a household of nine siblings, all of whom had significant problems such as autism, insanity, etc. He ended up being the only child that succeeded in life, becoming one of America’s most accomplished poets. All throughout his life, Whitman shared his beliefs on slavery, advertising them through poetry, among other things. “Whitman joined the Free Soil Democrats, who believed that slavery should be prohibited from all annexed territories. But his outspoken beliefs cost him several important editorial positions” (Lowen 18). When Whitman was working as the editor for the Eagle, he lost his job because of his boss’s belief in pro-slavery.

Along with other jobs he lost based on his revolutionary beliefs and the poems he wrote, Whitman continued to fight for what he believed in and stood strong. Leaves of Grass, the book of poetry he spent his whole life revising and editing, speaks of topics that are often disregarded because they are quite controversial. “Leaves of Grass portrays both the suffering and the dignity of African Americans, seen in the present as victims of slave-catchers but envisioned in the future as partners with whites in an egalitarian democracy.” (Klammer) Whitman was scorned for his beliefs but continued to display what he thought was the correct course that America should follow. Making him a dignified option for the Civil War Hall of Fame.

Not only did Whitman stand up for what he believed in, but he also spent most of his life taking care of injured soldiers. It all started when Whitman’s brother was listed as an injured soldier during the war. Walt rushed to where his brother was being held, only to find that he was minimally injured and, for the most part, healed. From there on out, “[Whitman] spent the rest of his time visiting soldiers, he dressed their wounds, read to them, and wrote letters home for those who weren’t able to write.” (Lowen 29) He stayed with them for two weeks before he helped a group of soldiers make it to Washington Hospital.

Whitman mailed out letters to the soldiers and aided them during the time of their perilous journey. Not so long after the journey to the hospital, Walt set up shop in Washington so he could continue his work with soldiers.“Whitman began making the rounds of the hospitals, offering modest gifts of fruit, candy, books, pencils, and paper to the hospitalized soldiers. More importantly, he lent an ear to the young men who needed a friend.” (PBS) Walt Whitman generously gave a large portion of his life to helping others, and it certainly was not cheap or easy. It took a lot of money and time, but it was worth it in the end, for Whitman was able to do something he truly enjoyed.


The final thing I wish to present you with today is Whitman’s documentation of the Civil War and its controversial topics. Leaves of Grass, Whitman’s book of poetry, contained poems that revolved around his philosophy of life. Each individual poem represented a piece of his life during the Civil War. Whitman continued to revise Leaves of Grass throughout the entirety of his time on Earth, making sure that the poems were accurate in their depiction of his view on things. Whitman took the time to pour his heart and soul into his poems, showing the commitment he held to spreading his beliefs. Even when “critics denounced Walt Whitman as a ‘lunatic raving in pitiable delirium.’” and “pronounced his signature book of poetry, Leaves of Grass, ‘slimy,’ ‘vile,’ and ‘beastly.’” (“Walt Whitman”). Whitman stood strong and ended up becoming famous for his poetry, proving that sometimes people are wrong. Not only did Walt display his dignity and courage, but he also provided poems that.


  1. Lowen, Mark. “Walt Whitman Biography: The Life of America’s Poet.” ThoughtCo, 21 Oct. 2020, www.thoughtco.com/walt-whitman-biography-3529010.
  2. Klammer, Enno. “The Revolutionary Walt Whitman.” The Wall Street Journal, 28 Nov. 2012, www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324705104578151393895030042.
  3. Lowen, Mark. “Walt Whitman Biography: The Life of America’s Poet.” ThoughtCo, 21 Oct. 2020, www.thoughtco.com/walt-whitman-biography-3529010.
  4. “PBS Documentary Explores the Life and Legacy of Walt Whitman.” PBS, 18 June 2020, www.pbs.org/about/about-pbs/blogs/news/pbs-documentary-explores-the-life-and-legacy-of-walt-whitman/.

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Whitman's Impact on the Civil War: Induction into the Civil War Hall of Fame. (2023, Aug 29). Retrieved from https://edusson.com/examples/whitman-s-impact-on-the-civil-war-induction-into-the-civil-war-hall-of-fame

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