Sunday, July 17, 2011

On this day 155 years ago: Lincoln campaigns for Frémont in Dixon, IL

Lincoln-Frémont markers, Dixon
In 1856, the new Republican Party nominated explorer and former California senator John C. Frémont as its presidential candidate. And on this day that year, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech in support of Frémont in front of the Lee County Courthouse in Dixon, Illinois in front of 1,500 people.

The historical markers on the left commemorate the speech.

Twenty-four years earlier, Lincoln was briefly based in Dixon when he served as an army captain during the Black Hawk War.

Lincoln statue, Dixon
During Lincoln and Frémont's time, presidential candidates rarely campaigned for themselves--they utilized surrogates.

During the Civil War, Frémont was a major general for the union, but was relieved of command by Lincoln in 1861 because he feared his the freeing of slaves by Frémont in Missouri would drive the border state to secede. The following year, bickering with General John Pope, his commanding officer, ended his military career.

In 1864, Frémont was briefly a Radical Republican candidate for president. He ended his campaign after the resignation of Lincoln's postmaster general, Montgomery Blair. Had the explorer remained in the race, the split among Republicans might have delivered the presidency to General B. George McClellan and his peace Democrats.

Dixon of course is best known as Ronald Reagan's boyhood home, but history graced the northern Illinois town before the Gipper's time.

Related Frémont post:
Black Hawk Trail,
Dixon, IL

Four Corners Furtherance: A final look at Capitol Reef

Lincoln posts:
Dixon posts:

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