The first Republican candidate for President was John Fremont, the explorer. He ran and lost in 1856 to James Buchanan. Four years later the Republican Party put up Abraham Lincoln, and we all know what kind of man and President he was.
So how did the Republican Party go from nominating Lincoln (and later the progressive Teddy Roosevelt) to nominating Big Business favorites like Warren Harding and Herbert Hoover?
This is a case for Rick Perlstein!