23 January 2007

Liberal Republicans

Jessie Ann Benton Fremont
John C. Fremont

Once upon a time, Republicans were the liberal party. Long before Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the first Republican to run for the Presidency and his wife freed their slaves.

While most people know of John C. Fremont as an explorer and instigator of California statehood, he probably never would have risen to political heights without his wife. If you like historical novels, pick up a copy of "Immortal Wife" by Irving Stone, but Jessie Benton Fremont was bigger than fiction. For that you need to get a copy of "The Letters of Jessie Benton Fremont". Despite being raised in an era when most women were not well educated she was an anomoly.

Daughter of a U.S. Senator
Fluent in Spanish and French acting as translater for official Washington
Pioneer traveling extensively between Virginia and California
Political Force within the new Republican Party
Campaign for the Presidency with her husband
Following husband's death supporter of her children through her writing.

Without the pioneer work of the Fremonts and the establishment of the Bear Republic and later the State, the Gold Rush if it happened at all would have been a part of the history of Spain not the United States. Gold Discovery at Sutter's Mill.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the Fremonts, but in checking for interesting events on this date, I found out that my absolutely favorite female in history received her medical degree on this day. So just as an add on, you lucky people get an introduction to Elizabeth Blackwell. She was an abolitionist as well as n Episcopalian, then a Dissenter, then a Unitarian, Elizabeth Blackwell returned to the Episcopal church and became associated with Christian socialism.

1849 : First woman M.D.

Elizabeth Blackwell is granted a medical degree from Geneva College in New York, becoming the first female to be officially recognized as a physician in U.S. history.

Blackwell, born in Bristol, England, came to the United States in her youth and attended the medical faculty of Geneva College, now known as Hobart College. In 1849, she graduated with the highest grades in her class and was granted an M.D.

In 1857, after several years of private practice, she founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children with her sister, Emily Blackwell, also a doctor.

In 1868, the institution was expanded to include a women's college for the training of nurses and doctors, the first of its kind in America. The next year, Blackwell returned to England, where in 1875 she became professor of gynecology at the London School of Medicine for Women, a medical discipline she had helped to establish.