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John C. Frémont
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John C. Frémont

John Charles Frémont (January 21, 1813-July 13, 1890) was an American military officer, explorer, and the first candidate of the United States Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. He was born in Savannah, Georgia

Frémont assisted and led multiple surveying expeditions through the western territory of the United States. In 1838 and 1839 he assisted Joseph Nicollet in exploring the lands between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. In 1841, with training from Nicollet, he mapped portions of the Des Moines River, and from 1841 to 1846 he led exploration parties on the Oregon Trail and into the Sierra Nevada.

On January 16, 1847 he was appointed Governor of the new California Territory following the Treaty of Cahuenga which ended the Mexican-American War in California. He served briefly (from 1850 to 1851) as a Senator from California. In 1856 the new Republican Party nominated him as their first presidential candidate, but he lost (see U.S. presidential election, 1856) to James Buchanan.

Frémont served as a major general in the American Civil War and declared martial law in Missouri. This declaration led to a conflict with Abraham Lincoln and led to Frémont's removal from command in the West on November 2, 1861. He was re-appointed to a different post (in West Virginia), but lost several battles and resigned his post.

Frémont was appointed Governor of the Arizona Territory from 1878 to 1881. He died of peritonitis in a hotel in New York, New York.

Four states named counties in his honor: Colorado, Idaho, Iowa and Wyoming. Also, several cities are named after him, such as Fremont, California and Fremont, Nebraska.

Preceded by:
United States Senators from California Succeeded by:
John B. Weller