Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire

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University of Oklahoma Press, Apr 7, 2014 - Biography & Autobiography - 612 pages
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“The most eloquent, understanding, and yet very candid biography of Frémont that has appeared to date”—Howard R. Lamar, Yale University

The career of John Charles Frémont (1813–90) ties together the full breadth of American expansionism from its eighteenth-century origins through its culmination in the Gilded Age. Tom Chaffin's biography demonstrates Frémont's vital importance to the history of American empire, and illuminates his role in shattering long-held myths about the ecology and habitability of the American West.

As the most celebrated American explorer and mapper of his time, Frémont stood at the center of the vast federal project of western exploration and conquest. His expeditions between 1838 and 1854 captured the public's imagination, inspired Americans to accept their nation's destiny as a vast continental empire, and earned him his enduring sobriquet, the Pathfinder.

But Frémont was more than an explorer. Chaffin's dramatic narrative includes Frémont's varied experiences as an entrepreneur, abolitionist, Civil War general, husband to the remarkable Jessie Benton Frémont, two-time Republican presidential candidate, and Gilded Age aristocrat.

This new paperback edition of Pathfinder features a new, additional, updated introduction by the author.

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PATHFINDER: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire

User Review  - Kirkus

A comprehensive, lively study of one of America's greatest—and most controversial—explorers.John Frémont scaled mountains, coined the geographical term "Great Basin," and battled renegades and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

At its best, this book is a close examination of an enigmatic figure who deserves to be better remembered. At its worst, it has a certain prefunctory quality to it. These extremes roughly coincide ... Read full review


Preface tothePaperback Edition
The RisingEmpire 2 Charles Fremon Fils
TheresGeography for You
THE FIRST EXPEDITION Spring 1842Fall 1842
To South Pass 7 Fremont Peakand Back
The Pathfinder
Great Salt Lake Great Basin and Humboldt River
Measuring the Empire
The Wages of Empire and the Final Expedition
General Frémont
On Textual Sources and PlaceNames

To Promote This Object ofthe President 18 Neutral Conquest

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About the author (2014)

Tom Chaffin is Research Professor of History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he also directs and edits the series Correspondence of James K. Polk. Among his numerous publications, he has written articles for the New York Times, Harper's, and Time, and his books include Sea of Gray: The Around-the-World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah and Giant's Causeway: Frederick Douglass's Irish Odyssey and the Making of an American Visionary.

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