Godkin moved to the United States in 1856. He worked for various newspapers before becoming editor of The Nation in 1865. Godkin announced that the paper would support progressive causes and advocate legislation "that seems likely to promote equal distribution of the fruits of progress and civilization" The journal supported women's suffrage, equal rights for African Americans and public education. With the help of the outstanding journalist, William Dean Howells, circulation reached 10,000.
In June, 1881, Godkin sold the Nation to Henry Villard. He now became associate editor of the New York Evening Post before replacing Carl Schurz as editor in chief in 1883. Edwin Godwin died on 21st May, 1902.