Boston: John P. Jewett and Company, 1856. 64pp., but lacking two leaves of text. 16mo. Original front wrapper, rear wrapper lacking. Some wear a light soiling to front wrapper. Pages 25-26 and 31-32 have been excised, top margin of pp.23-24 cut away (no text affected), occasional foxing and soiling, light tanning throughout. Good, thought lacking two leaves of text. Item #WRCAM56020
Scarce songbook, or "songster," supporting Frémont's ill-fated campaign as the first presidential candidate of the newly formed Republican party, running on a platform opposing the extension of slavery. Songsters like these were very common in the 19th century, and were used to promote any number of agendas, such as temperance, abolition, and political campaigns, and sometimes just for plain entertainment. The song lyrics worked to condense and simplify some of the more complex campaign issues, while also ginning up excitement for one candidate and lambasting another. These texts usually did not contain music, which made them quick to print and cheap to distributed widely. This copy has two leaves excised, containing songs entitled "Fremont, the Choice of the Nation," and "The Fine Old Fossil Bachelor." Frémont rose to fame due to his western explorations, and was elected the first senator of California in 1849, but in 1851, the legislature deadlocked over his candidacy and he was unable to stand for reelection. He returned to politics once more in 1856, with the support of Nathaniel Banks and Francis Blair, who put him forward as the first presidential candidate for the Republican party. "Chosen more for his heroic image than his political skills, he nonetheless inspired great enthusiasm in the North, while in the South he was branded a 'Frenchman's bastard' and, incorrectly, a secret Roman Catholic. Although Frémont gained the majority of northern votes, he was defeated nationwide by the Democratic candidate, James Buchanan....Despite the loss, his candidacy established the Republican party's dominance in the North and set the stage for Abraham Lincoln's victory in 1860" - ANB. This volume is rare at auction and in the trade. ANB 8, pp.459-62.