In the ’60s, he was known as the Poet Laureate of Freedom. The 1860s, that is.
There are some striking parallels between John Greenleaf Whittier, the Massachusetts poet who was a household name around the time of the Civil War, and the much-mythologized Bob Dylan, who has been rummaging in the American idiom, with some notable success, for the past half-century. Both men wrote deeply about social and political issues in their youth before moving onto more personal observations. Both men faced vehement ridicule and scorn; both went through intense periods of seeking God. Both eventually turned away from their fame to look inward.