"The election of 1856 was the most violent peacetime election in American history. Amid all the violence, the campaign of the new Republican Party, headed by famed explorer John C. Fremont, offered a ray of hope that had never before been seen in the politics of the nation--a major party dedicated to limiting the spread of slavery. For the first time, women and African Americans became actively engaged in a presidential contest, and the candidate's wife, Jessie Benton Fremont, played a central role in both planning and executing strategy while being a public face of the campaign. The 1856 campaign was also run against the backdrop of a country on the move, with settlers continuing to spread westward facing unimagined horrors, a terrible natural disaster that took hundreds of lives in the South, and one of the most famous Supreme Court cases in history, which set the stage for the Civil War. Fremont lost, but his strong showing in the North proved that a sectional party could win a national election, blazing the trail for Abraham Lincoln's victory four years later"-- Provided by publisher. "An in-depth look at the trailblazing campaign of John C. Fremont, the first Republican candidate for president"-- Provided by publisher.