Author: James Russell Lowell

An American poet, critic, editor, and diplomat, James Russell Lowell (1819–1891) was one of the famous Fireside Poets along with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., who together were among the first American poets to become widely popular. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Lowell spent a large portion of his life there, attending Harvard College, Harvard Law School, and then becoming a Harvard professor of languages for nearly two decades. Lowell’s literary career was extremely successful. His book, The Bigelow Papers, was called the most influential book of 1848 by the prestigious Grolier Club, the first bibliophile society in North America. He is known for his satire, informal use of the vernacular, and anti-slavery themes. A supporter of reform movements, his writings often discussed social issues such as temperance, labor, and capital punishment. In addition to his writings, he was the first editor of the Atlantic Monthly and coeditor of the North American Review. Besides writing, he was also appointed Minister to the Court of Spain by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877, and later Minister of England in 1880.

Excerpt from “The President’s Policy”

James Russell Lowell
James Russell Lowell (1819–91) was a poet, editor, and diplomat, associated with the Fireside Poets, a group of New England writers who were among the first American poets to rival the popularity of British poets. lthough at times critical of Lincoln, Lowell supported him in the 1860 presidential election, and in December 1863, wrote this essay (here excerpted) in favor of Lincoln’s reelection.

Fourth of July Ode

James Russell Lowell

Would the attainment of equal rights for women and minorities, and also the alleviation of poverty and undeserved misfortune, be sufficient to perfect the union and to realize King’s “American Dream” of freedom for all? This “Fourth of July Ode” (1876) by James Russell Lowell (1819–91), Fireside Poet, literary and social critic, Harvard professor, abolitionist, and diplomat, suggests that more would be necessary.