Ever the hopeful (if naive) optimist, Walt Whitman foretells the limitless potential of a liberated humanity.

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Anthony Comegna

Anthony Comegna received his M.A. (2012) and Ph.D. (2016) in history from the University of Pittsburgh, where he specialized in early American, intellectual, and Atlantic history. His dissertation, “The Dupes of Hope Forever:” The Loco‐​Foco or Equal Rights Movement, 1820s‐​1870s, revives the submerged and forgotten legacy of locofocoism. Anthony has taught undergraduate courses in American history and Western Civilization. He produces regular historical content for Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org and is the writer/​host of Liberty Chronicles. He currently works at the Institute for Humane Studies as the Academic Programs Design Manager.


Throughout his life, Walt Whitman (1819–1892) was dazzled by the 19th century’s seemingly endless cascade of political, economic, technological, and social revolutions. He spent his career in search of the Great American Artist who could capture the incredible nature of the country and the age. In Democratic Vistas (1871), Whitman offered his own vision of the world’s evolving liberal Manifest Destiny, complete with castles in the air, exploration of the stars, and the conquest of death. Whitman believed there were no discernible limits to human achievement, if only we would leave each other in peace.