Medalet promoting John Fremont for president, 1856. Brass. DeWitt JCF 1856-8. Holed for suspension. OBV: Bust of Fremont to right; inscription, JOHN C. FREMONT. FREE SOIL & FREE SPEECH., around. REV: Displayed eagle; inscription, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. around.
Though organized barely two years, the modern Republican Party made a respectable showing in 1856, sweeping the North and gaining dozens of seats in Congress. For their first presidential candidate, Republicans nominated the dashing 45-year-old John Charles Fremont of California. Famed for his explorations of the American West and his exploits in the Mexican War, the political outsider Fremont was a brilliant and unconventional choice for a debut standard-bearer. And perhaps no candidate ever had a name better suited to campaign slogans. Supporters were overheard to shout, "Free speech! Free soil! Free men! Fremont!"
Fremont's outspoken opposition to slavery endeared him to Northern abolitionists, but antagonized Southerners already angered over a perceived threat to their sovereignty and economy. Historians believe that had Fremont been elected, the Civil War would have broken out four years earlier. He lost...but the stage was set for a man from Illinois.
We offer a choice specimen of the quintessential Fremont campaign token.
Note: Natural patina may vary from example shown.