John Charles Fremont in 1856 became the very first Republican candidate for President. He was also an adventurer, explorer, military officer, businessman, and U.S. Senator.
He became the military governor of northern California by right of military conquest, not election. He was one of the first two U.S. Senators selected by the new state of California to represent the state in Washington. Fremont was a businessperson. His $10M California gold country holdings were worth the equivalent of perhaps a half billion dollars today, making Fremont, one of the wealthiest candidates for president in U.S. history.
Fremont’s colorful life and career made him vulnerable to allegations of scandal -his campaign was dogged by claims of illegitimate birth, secret Catholicism, and even cannibalism. Some of these claims were true. And Fremont was hindered by his principled and steadfast opposition to the further spread of slavery – the issue that in four short years would propel the nation into a bloody Civil War.
His distinguished career of exploration helped open the West to settlement and popularized the region to countless emigrants who used his reports as their guidebooks: Mormon settlers in Utah, California’s Forty-Niners, and emigrants to Oregon. His unorthodox campaign to conquer California ultimately succeeded, but left him court-martialed and disgraced.
The Biographies of John Charles Fremont surveys the career of this amazing character and tells how the story of his life was captured by journalists, historians, and biographers.
If you are seeking an alternative to reading mysteries or fiction. Fremont’s real life reads far better than any fiction novel.