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John Charles Frémont

John Charles Frémont
William Smith Jewett, 6 Aug 1812 - 3 Dec 1873
John Charles Frémont, 21 Jan 1813 - 13 Jul 1890
Oil on canvas
37.8 x 28cm (14 7/8 x 11")
Frame: 47.6 x 38.4 x 5.1cm (18 3/4 x 15 1/8 x 2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
In 1846, the newspaperman John L. O'Sullivan coined the phrase "manifest destiny" to describe America's mission to "overspread the continent allotted [to us] by Providence." A member of the U.S. Topographical Corps, the "Great Pathfinder" John C. Frémont made that destiny a reality with his many explorations of western routes to the Pacific. In 1846-47, Frémont fought to capture California from Mexico, but his insubordination led to his dismissal from service, an act that only added to his appeal as spokesman for western Americans. Personally and politically well-connected (he was the son-in-law of powerful Missouri senator Thomas Hart Benton), Frémont was a senator from California and then ran for president in 1856 as the Republican Party's first candidate. He was an unsuccessful Civil War general, losing Abraham Lincoln's confidence when he issued a premature announcement emancipating Missouri's slaves.
(Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York); purchased 1972 NPG.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 124