The election of 1856 was the most violent peacetime election in American history. War between proslavery and antislavery settlers raged in Kansas; a congressman shot an Irish immigrant at a Washington, DC, hotel; and on the floor of the Senate another congressman beat a US senator senseless. But amid all the violence, the campaign of the new Republican Party, headed by famed explorer John C. Frémont, offered a ray of hope that had never before been seen in the politics of the nation—a major party dedicated to limiting the spread of slavery. For the first time, women and African Americans became actively engaged in a presidential contest, and the candidate’s wife, Jessie Benton Frémont, played a central role in both planning and executing strategy while being a public face of the campaign. Even enslaved black people in the South took hope from Frémont’s crusade.The 1856 campaign was also run against the backdrop of a country on the move, with settlers continuing to spread westward facing unimagined horrors, a terrible natural disaster that took hundreds of lives in the South, and one of the most famous Supreme Court cases in history, which set the stage for the Civil War to come. Frémont lost, but his strong showing in the North proved that a sectional party could win a national election, blazing the trail for Abraham Lincoln’s victory four years later.
Lincoln's Pathfinder Review
- June 26, 2017Jean PoulosThe first presidential election to feature a Republican candidate was in 1856. General John C. Fremont was the first Republican candidate for president of the newly created Republican Party. His opponents were James Buchanan of the Democratic party and Millard Fillmore of the American Party, also known as the Know Nothing Party. The author states this 1856 presidential election year was the most violent in our history. The hostility between the proslavery and antislavery was becoming violent. Th The first presidential election to feature a Republican candidate was in 1856. General John C. Fremont was the first Republican candidate for president of the newly created Republican Party. His opponents were James Buchanan of the Democratic party and Millard Fillmore of the American Party, also known as the Know Nothing Party. The author states this 1856 presidential election year was the most violent in our history. The hostility between the proslavery and antislavery was becoming violent. The Kansas-Nebraska act erupted into a what is called bleeding Kansas. A congressman shot an Irish immigrant at a Washington Hotel. Another Senator beat a fellow senator senseless on the floor of the Senate. General Fremont was a very popular candidate. For the first time, his wife played a central role in the campaign. Usually the wife stayed in the background even if they were active in their husband’s campaign. The violence was building in the Dred Scott v Sandford case and the Supreme Court came out with its verdict in 1857. As the violence was building and in spite of Fremont’s popularity, the votes started to turn. There was widespread feeling that things were falling apart and the voters turned to who they thought would be the safer choice, James Buchanan. Recently, I read a biography of Buchanan and it was stated he was the worst president we have had to date.The book is well written and researched. The book is easy to read and provides a lot of details about the 1856 election. Bicknell does an excellent job explaining how events got elevated into political symbols. My only complaint is Bicknell did not have much detail about Fremont even thought he was the key figure in the book. Bicknell calls it a year of passion and partisanship. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is ten and a half hours long. Bob Souer does a good job narrating the book. Souer is voice over artist and audiobook narrator.more
- May 15, 2017John AdamsAn extremely readable account of an important moment in American history. The 1856 election set the stage for the ascension of Abraham Lincoln four years later, and Bicknell covers this crucial period in great detail and entertaining style. Frequently tragic, occasionally comical, the book explains events previously obscure to most readers. Highly recommended!more
- June 29, 2017Huguette Larochellei win this book.well done, and very details , about politic and slavery , in 1856 a historical writing.
Write a review