Jessie Benton Fremont, Fremont, Fremont Fremont discussed on 1947: The Meet the Press Podcast
It was made they were making economic arguments about slavery was not. It's not a free white guy. This was this was not a human rights argument lots of racists that were being made here and that it's very similar to me the immigration debate that takes place in the Republican Party. Today you have the business of the party we need these immigrants. Yeah but at the same time they might not be the most open to wanting them as neighbors there was a the and there's a crazy circumstance in that the Republican Party was arguably the most progressive major-party of its time And I say that almost in a modern sense of wanting running a more open and inclusive country but they also were aware that this was a time of profound racial prejudice and that they needed to attract or or at least neutralize the danger of Anti immigrant voters and they didn't want to be stained too much with the hatred of immigrants but they they also didn't want to turn off natives. They wanted nativist votes because they wanted to win. And that was necessary to them then and I find it entirely possible. Symbol that we if we were able to very very privately have a drink with With one lawmaker many lawmakers. We might find a lot who say that they take this position that they don't actually feel the way that they say about immigration but they know that a lot of their voters do and they need to appeal to those people in order to do things they find more important and it was it. It is amazing. How often when you hear this I mean all of these founders of California whether you WanNa talk about Mark Hopkins are all these guys? They all came about their anti-slavery Mindset all through business yes yeah and they're asking questions like Should a man won't be allowed a white man be allowed to come to California bringing one hundred African slaves and dig for gold and get all the gold. Is that unfair to white people who are prospecting getting in the same place. It's it's remarkable but true that a lot of anti slavery sentiment at that time was about white people and its effect on white people and in fact a lot of the resistance to freeing slaves was also about white people who didn't WanNa live around free black people one of the the things that I think makes your book. Even more unique here is that I think you introduce a character that maybe deserves more Attention and that is Jesse. Yeah would you put her. Should she be in the likes of Susan. B. Anthony should be seen as somebody I mean here was somebody who is pushing the envelope elope for women in politics and you. She was very out front. Outspoken people liked her she popular. How much should she be revisited? As as one of the great Feminists and women's rights activists of her. She should be revisited as a character is very different from someone like Susan B. Anthony Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton And here's what I mean by that. She wasn't an overt activist. She was someone who acted on a personal level to accomplish everything that she could given the strictures on women of her time. I've been listening to those really cool. podcasts about Dolly Pardon I don't know if you've been following pretty amazing and Dolly Parton has a complicated relationship with the word feminist. Doesn't seem to like to be called a feminist but is admired by feminists administered by all kinds of women for the way that she made a career herself and not only has been a singer but has been the boss of other people and she has tried tried to accomplish things on that level without overtly being some kind of feminist activist. Jessie Benton Fremont in the period that I focus on the eighteen forties and fifties didn't even seem to favor the women's right to vote. There was a movement that was beginning to she was she wasn't necessarily there in fact there's a moment later when Elizabeth Elizabeth Cady Stanton comes and says can you contribute some money to our cause of women's suffrage and Jessie Benton Fremont says. I'm not sure I want to do that. I feel that women in their present present position management better which is not a sentiment that a lot of people would buy into today. But that's the thing that she said. She eventually got there but what she was doing was on a personal level she as a child. Her father Senator Benton had wanted a son had wanted to name the sun after his father turned out to be a daughter so she jesse Jesse aimed at named after his father anyway My wife was supposed to be the boy in her name's Christian. Hey Sorry Christian no matter what this beautiful and this must happen a lot trae and it happened to her and she slipped into the role of a son according according to traditional gender her father took her hunting for example her father took her onto talking. About why you have tried to pose as a poses a man that yes the there. There are instances in which she She did that Two in particular was at a wedding where she put on men's clothes and tried to persuade people that that she was a man but there was another more significant one where she went to one of her friends weddings as a teenager. And she's like high Washington Society egner teenage classmate is getting married to the Russian ambassador. And it's this over the top wedding senators and and cabinet secretaries and she found the whole thing gross and went and cut off her hair and went to her father. And said I just WanNa live my life as your assistant. She is effectively saying without quite saying it. I want to live a man's life I WanNa do things that are restricted attracted to men and at this point. Her father had been so supportive of her education and so Close to her and brought her everywhere. Said this is now gone too far. It's time for you to be woman. Now grow your hair back get with it. be a woman and so what she ended up doing. Instead of being his assistant formerly she married a man who effectively became came his assistant in trying to settle the west and she was a powerful support to both of those men and operated through those men. I don't want to get through these days. I love how you talk about. How he t that Fremont viewed himself as truly as somebody who was an expeditious and that he would if he saw new new new plant life that he'd never seen before he went? I mean he was truly had an explorers mindset and I have to admit I was just like what would it be like to draw a map freak level and so I was just trying to put like to to make a map the way they had to make maps back anyway. Just I've I found myself very intrigued by that aspect. I will send you a link. Chuck there is Used but you can find that Fremont's map portfolio right it's been printed rented and there's like five huge maps that you unfold but yeah he he was not a trained scientist he was not a trained cartographer. He was not a trained soldier. Sure he was not a trained anything. He was an intrepid amateur. who found out how much could get away with? And he made lovely maps that are mostly accurate Not In every case but but pretty good maps he was determined. This is a great thing for journalists to think about. He was determined only to map those areas he had seen himself. I wrote that in that I was like. Yeah yeah by the way. How else do you drop? Well W back then you withdraw trauma based on the accounts of other people and some guy you know. There might be a Florida in fifteen something and it basically Florida's peninsula just looks. Looks like a juts out. I mean it's Kinda there but it's almost shaped more like south. America like a mini South America and you might have a fur trapper that came after walking thousands of miles and you would get his best guess about how far away was a mountain that he had seen. How toll was it? And you'd stick it on the map Fremont Fremont wouldn't do that. His map would be blank. Except for this line across the map that he himself explored and maybe a few miles on either side just so listeners. Here Fremont I've heard Fremont Nebraska in Fremont it's all after him yes. All the Fremont's in America are named after this Fremont California Three Months Street in Las Vegas. The Fremont neighborhood in Seattle Seattle Fremont New Hampshire Fremont New York. There are a lot of Fremont counties. It's all over the place Fremont mountains as well. Why what what? How did he get on your radar? What made this interesting? I got this great platform and I want to. I want to write this book. I first encountered John Fremont and Jessie Fremont as a kid. My parents got me those time life books where I remember those right and those kinds of books and the freemont appear in books about the old West and appear in books about about the civil war as well which I was obsessed with as a kid and you never hear their full story. You very rarely hear their full story but you get them referred to as ambitious and super famous vein variety of things about them and their various episodes Navy Crockett with with the way you felt like those books back then. I think that that's yeah. That's that's a fair comparison That although not folk heroes in quite the way the Davy Crockett was they. Were somehow a little different. But it didn't focus on them various celebrity Fokker which is different is a little different But then as a grownup as a historian if I can call myself myself that I wrote a book about Andrew Jackson the Cherokees which gets you into the early phase of what got you manifest destiny. You're talking about westward. Expansion and this book imperfect Perfect Union takes it to the next phase of America moving west and they were really interesting characters to me and I wanted to focus on on them and I wanted explicitly to focus on both of them. Because that gave me a chance to explore gender roles of the dime it gave me a chance simply to explore or a marriage which I was interested in doing and also to explore these themes of ambition and celebrity and everything else. That's in this book. Are you Andrew Jackson he space. Oh where where am I you know what I mean. By the consequential president everybody agrees with net positive. Negative to complicate it but no no no I. I think that I think that Andrew Jackson is all right if you pair them with the guy that it into the book John Ross. A Cherokee chief Jackson was a hero of American democracy who participated in opening up the American political system to greater numbers of people and there was enormous turnout relative earlier elections in his time he was also a slave owner and obvious racist slave owner. Come on He was a lawbreaker. He was a law in to himself. He believed in his own authority. Much more than you did the law. Aw didn't think much of Congress did anything much congress The Senate voted to censure him. Once upon a time and the there were there were many battles there he he was a profoundly consequential figure but the way that I think you can understand him and not totally reject him because of his many flaws is when you look at the contribution of John Ross. Is this Cherokee. who fought him? Not on the battlefield but in the democratic political system for more than twenty years. And you had an it's up. It's a success. Yes said it took place exactly that that that that that he held off John. Ross held off the demands for Cherokees to give up their land in the East for more than twenty years did that through the political GEICO system.