Passion and Principle : John and Jessie Frémont, the Couple Whose Power, Politics, and Love Shaped Nineteenth-Century America

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-05-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Nebraska Pr
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John Charles Fremont was the illegitimate child of a Virginia aristocrat and a working-class French immigrant; Jessie Benton was the daughter of the most powerful pre-Civil War U.S. senator, Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, and, her gender notwithstanding, had been groomed as much as any young man to be president. Senator Benton unwittingly brought the two together, never imagining that his daughter would fall in love with Fremont. Despite their disparate backgrounds, however, John and Jessie's marriage was one of the most storied events of the nineteenth century. And indeed, Jessie and John made a formidable couple. Both together and apart they contributed significantly to shaping the United States. He was a key figure in western expansion and the first presidential candidate for the Republican Party. She was a savvy political operator who played confidante and adviser to the highest political powers in the country. Despite their great efforts on behalf of their country, however, their reputations did not survive a Washington smear campaign led by none other than Jessie's father. Written with an investigative journalist's eye for detail and a novelist's flair, this biography of explorer, politician, and gold-mine owner John C. Fremont and his intellectual wife, Jessie Benton Fremont, also casts light on the tumultuous period that forms the backdrop for their lives, from the abolition of slavery to the building of the railroad.

Author Biography

Sally Denton is the author of Faith and Betrayal: A Pioneer Woman’s Passage in the American West and American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and her award-winning investigative reporting has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and American Heritage.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. ix
John 1813-1840p. 1
Jessie 1824-1840p. 29
The Pathfinder and His Wife 1840-1844p. 64
Bear Flag 1845-1848p. 102
Gold 1849-1855p. 157
Free Speech, Free Soil, Free Men, Fremont 1855-1857p. 222
War 1857-1862p. 266
Retreat 1862-1902p. 337
Afterwordp. 379
Acknowledgmentsp. 383
Notesp. 386
Bibliographyp. 428
Indexp. 441
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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