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Fremont, Lincoln, and Grant

March 27, 2019

John Fremont was the first Republican to run for President.  Ulysses Grant, the first Republican to serve two full terms, did not vote for Fremont in 1856.  Grant was not happy about slavery, but he feared Fremont’s election would offend the South, leading to secession and war.

Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican to become President.  Ulysses Grant, the man Lincoln would eventually appoint to lead the Union Army, did not have the opportunity to vote in 1860, but that does not mean he would have voted for Lincoln.  He favored Stephen Douglas instead.

In the mid-1850’s, when Fremont the celebrated explorer had become a famous political figure, Grant was a failed farmer who was reduced to selling firewood on the street corners of St. Louis.

In 1860, when people were still talking about Lincoln’s Cooper Union speech, Grant moved to Galena, Illinois and took a position in his father’s leather goods business.  Grant was not much of a businessman.  His two younger brothers ran the operation.  Grant just needed to earn some money so he could pay off some bills.  Twelve months later Fort Sumter was fired upon.

During the Mexican-American War, when General Fremont was fighting in California and Lincoln was getting elected to Congress, Captain Grant was seeing a lot of action in Mexico.  A decade and a half later, when the Union needed seasoned officers, people began to realize there was more to Grant than they had previously reckoned.  The people of Galena saw this right away.  By the end of summer 1861 General Fremont would come to the same conclusion.

 

 

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