This article challenges the negative image that, since the late 19th century, has been associated with crowds, and it does so by focusing on a number of bodily-anatomic aspects of crowd behavior. I first demonstrate that the work of one of the leading crowd psychologists, Gustave Le Bon, instigated a racist body politics. As a contrast to Le Bon's political program, I examine Walt Whitman's poetry and argue that the crowd may embody a democratic vision that emphasizes the social and political import of sexuality and body-to-body contact. Further, I dispute classical crowd theory's idea of an antagonistic relationship between crowds and individuality. Following Elias Canetti, I claim instead that the bodily compression of crowds in fact liberates individuals and creates a democratic transformation. The analysis results in a rehabilitation of crowds and briefly suggests how a reinterpretation of crowd behavior may inform current debates in social theory.