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Encyclopedia > U.S. presidential election, 1844
Presidential electoral votes by state.
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Presidential electoral votes by state.

The U.S. presidential election of 1844 was the first election to see an incumbent President seek nomination and fail to receive it. John Tyler achieved this dubious distinction, abandoned by his native Democratic party and despised by his adopted Whigs. Download high resolution version (867x635, 76 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: James K. Polk U.S. presidential election, 1844 Categories: National Atlas images ... Download high resolution version (867x635, 76 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: James K. Polk U.S. presidential election, 1844 Categories: National Atlas images ... The President of the United States (unofficially abbreviated POTUS) is the head of state of the United States. ... John Tyler (March 29, 1790 – January 18, 1862) was the tenth (1841) Vice President of the United States, and the tenth (1841-1845) President of the United States. ... The Democratic Party is one of the two major political parties in the United States. ... The United States Whig Party was a political party of the United States. ...


Democratic nominee James K. Polk campaigned vigorously, surprising many with his stalwart support of westward expansion, an issue that Whig nominee Henry Clay and others attempted to deflect. His campaign slogan "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!" referred to the desired northern boundary of the Oregon Territory at the 54th parallel, 40 minutes, well north of the boundary later set by the Oregon Treaty of 1846. Polk's boldness paid off with his election on November 5, 1844, garnering 170 electoral votes to Clay's 105. James Knox Polk (November 2, 1795–June 15, 1849) was the eleventh President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1845 to March 3, 1849. ... Henry Clay Henry Clay (April 12, 1777 in Hanover County, Virginia – June 29, 1852 in Washington, D.C.) was an American statesman and orator who served in both the House of Representatives and Senate. ... The phrase Fifty-Four Forty or Fight was a campaign slogan of United States President-to-be James K. Polk. ... The Oregon Territory is the name applied both to the unorganized Oregon Country claimed by both the United States and Britain, as well as to the organized U.S. territory formed from it that existed between 1848 and 1859. ... The 1846 Oregon Treaty, formally titled Treaty with Great Britain, in Regard to Limits Westward of the Rocky Mountains, and also known as the Treaty of Washington, established the border between the British and American sections of the Oregon Country. ... 1846 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... November 5 is the 309th day of the year (310th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 56 days remaining. ... 1844 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ...


Despite his relative obscurity, historians rate Polk as one of America's most effective Presidents. In his four years in office (he refused to seek re-election), he accomplished almost every major goal he had established during the 1844 campaign. Many surveys have been conducted in order to construct rankings of the success of individuals who have served as President of the United States. ... 1844 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ...

Contents


Background

The incumbent President in 1844 was John Tyler, who had ascended to the office of President upon the death of William Henry Harrison. Although Tyler had been nominated on a Whig ticket, his policies had alienated the Whigs and they actually kicked him out of the party on September 13, 1841. Without a home in either of the two major parties, Tyler sought an issue that could create a viable third party to support his bid for the presidency in 1844. John Tyler (March 29, 1790 – January 18, 1862) was the tenth (1841) Vice President of the United States, and the tenth (1841-1845) President of the United States. ... William Henry Harrison (February 9, 1773 – April 4, 1841) was an American military leader, politician, and the ninth President of the United States. ... September 13 is the 256th day of the year (257th in leap years). ... take you to calendar). ...


Tyler found that issue in the annexation of Texas. When Texas had achieved its independence in 1836, it had initially sought to be annexed by the United States. Opposition from the northern states had prevented the United States from acting favorably on this request, and so in 1838 Texas had withdrawn its offer. There the issue lay until 1843, when Tyler and his newly minted Secretary of State, Abel P. Upshur, took the issue up again and started negotiations on annexation. When Upshur was killed in an accident on February 28, 1844, the treaty was almost complete. Tyler appointed John C. Calhoun Secretary of State as Upshur's replacement, and Calhoun completed the treaty, presenting it to the Senate on April 22. However, Calhoun had also sent a letter to British Minister Richard Pakenham which charged the British with attempting to coerce Texas into abolishing slavery and which justified the annexation as a defensive move to preserve southern slavery, and Calhoun presented the letter to Senate as well. Thus, going into the presidential campaign season, Texas annexation explicitly tied to southern slavery had suddenly emerged as the top issue. Republic of Texas The Texas Annexation of 1845 was the annexation of Texas by the United States of America as the 28th state. ... ... Abel Parker Upshur (June 17, 1790–February 28, 1844) was a American statesman. ... February 28 is the 59th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1844 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... John C. Calhoun John Caldwell Calhoun (March 18, 1782 – March 31, 1850), was a prominent United States politician of the first half of the 19th century. ... April 22 is the 112th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (113th in leap years). ...


The two front runners for the nominations were Henry Clay for the Whigs and Martin Van Buren for the Democrats. Both tried to straddle the issue by making statements opposing the immediate annexation of Texas without the consent of Mexico. Henry Clay Henry Clay (April 12, 1777 in Hanover County, Virginia – June 29, 1852 in Washington, D.C.) was an American statesman and orator who served in both the House of Representatives and Senate. ... Martin Van Buren (December 5, 1782 – July 24, 1862), nicknamed Old Kinderhook, was the eighth President of the United States. ...


Nominations

Democratic Party nomination

The Democrats met in Baltimore. Van Buren's public stand against immediate annexation proved to be enough of a drag to derail his nomination. Instead the Democrats nominated Polk, their first "dark horse" candidate, on the ninth ballot. The Democrats chose Silas Wright as Polk's running mate, but Wright refused the nomination. George Mifflin Dallas, who had finished a close second to Wright in the balloting, was then offered a spot on the ticket, and he accepted. This article is about the city in the US state of Maryland. ... A dark horse candidate is one who is nominated unexpectedly, without previously having been discussed or considered as a likely choice. ... Silas Wright, Jr. ... For the federal judge, please see George M. Dallas (judge). ...


When advised of his nomination via letter, Polk replied: "It has been well observed that the office of President of the United States should neither be sought nor declined. I have never sought it, nor should I feel at liberty to decline it, if conferred upon me by the voluntary suffrages of my fellow citizens."


Whig Party nomination

The Whigs chose Clay, the party's greatest congressional leader, despite his having lost two prior presidential elections: in 1824 to John Quincy Adams as a Democrat-Republican, then in 1832 to Andrew Jackson as a National Republican. Theodore Frelinghuysen was nominated as Clay's running mate. The United States Whig Party was a political party of the United States. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was the sixth (1825-1829) President of the United States. ... The Democratic-Republican party was a United States political party, which evolved early in the history of the United States. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845), one of the founders of the Democratic Party, was the seventh President of the United States, serving from 1829 to 1837. ... The National Republican Party was a United States political party that existed in the first half of the 19th century. ... Theodore Frelinghuysen (1787–1862) Theodore Frelinghuysen (March 28, 1787–April 12, 1862) was a American politician, serving as New Jerseys Attorney General, United States Senator, and Mayor of Newark, New Jersey before running as a candidate for Vice President with Henry Clay on the Whig ticket in the election...


The Whigs played on Polk's comparative obscurity, asking "Who is James K. Polk?" as part of their campaign to get Clay elected.


Other nominations

Another candidate in the 1844 campaign was Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who intended to run with Sidney Rigdon as his running mate. The effort was aborted when Smith was murdered on June 27, 1844. James Birney ran as the anti-slavery Liberty Party candidate, garnering a fair amount of the vote (for a third-party candidate), but no electoral votes. 1844 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Joseph Smith, Jr. ... The Salt Lake City temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the largest attraction in the citys Temple Square. ... Sidney Rigdon Sidney Rigdon (19 February 1793–14 July 1876) was an important figure in the early history of the Latter Day Saint movement. ... June 27 is the 178th day of the year (179th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 187 days remaining. ... 1844 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ...


General election

Campaign

Polk was committed to territorial expansion and favored the annexation of Texas. To deflect charges of pro-slavery bias in the Texas annexation issue, Polk combined the Texas annexation issue with a demand for the acquisition of the entire Oregon Territory, which was at the time jointly administered by the United States and Great Britain. This proved to be an immensely popular message, especially compared to the Whigs' tired economic program. It even forced Clay to move on the issue of Texas annexation, saying that he would support annexation after all if it could be accomplished without war and upon "just and fair" terms. The Oregon Territory is the name applied both to the unorganized Oregon Country claimed by both the United States and Britain, as well as to the organized U.S. territory formed from it that existed between 1848 and 1859. ...


Results

The election was very close run. The Liberty Party may well have played the role of spoiler: in New York state, Birney received 15,800 votes, while Clay lost New York by a mere 5,100 votes, and if New York had been won by Clay he would have won the Electoral College 141–134.

Presidential Candidate Party Home State Popular Vote(a) Electoral Vote Running Mate Running Mate's
Home State
Running Mate's
Electoral Vote
Count Percentage
James K. Polk Democratic Tennessee 1,339,494 49.5% 170 George Mifflin Dallas Pennsylvania 170
Henry Clay Whig Kentucky 1,300,004 48.1% 105 Theodore Frelinghuysen New Jersey 105
James G. Birney Liberty New York 62,103 2.3% 0 Thomas Morris Ohio 0
Other 2,058 0.1% 0 Other 0
Total 2,703,659 100.0% 275 Total 275
Needed to win 138 Needed to win 138

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. 1844 Presidential Election Results. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (July 27, 2005). James Knox Polk (November 2, 1795–June 15, 1849) was an American politician and the eleventh U.S. President, serving from March 4, 1845 to March 4, 1849. ... The Democratic Party is one of the two major political parties in the United States. ... State nickname: Volunteer State Other U.S. States Capital Nashville Largest city Memphis Governor Phil Bredesen (D) Senators Bill Frist (R) Lamar Alexander (R) Official language(s) English Area 109,247 km² (36th)  - Land 106,846 km²  - Water 2,400 km² (2. ... George Mifflin Dallas (July 10, 1792—December 31, 1864) was a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and the eleventh Vice President, serving under James K. Polk. ... State nickname: The Keystone State Other U.S. States Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Governor Ed Rendell (D) Senators Arlen Specter (R) Rick Santorum (R) Official language(s) None Area 119,283 km² (33rd)  - Land 116,074 km²  - Water 3,208 km² (2. ... Henry Clay Henry Clay (April 12, 1777 in Hanover County, Virginia – June 29, 1852 in Washington, D.C.) was an American statesman and orator who served in both the House of Representatives and Senate. ... The United States Whig Party was a political party of the United States. ... State nickname: Bluegrass State Other U.S. States Capital Frankfort Largest city Louisville Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) Senators Mitch McConnell (R) Jim Bunning (R) Official languages English Area 104,749 km² (37th)  - Land 102,989 km²  - Water 1,760 km² (1. ... Theodore Frelinghuysen (1787–1862) Theodore Frelinghuysen (March 28, 1787–April 12, 1862) was a American politician, serving as New Jerseys Attorney General, United States Senator, and Mayor of Newark, New Jersey before running as a candidate for Vice President with Henry Clay on the Whig ticket in the election... State nickname: The Garden State Other U.S. States Capital Trenton Largest city Newark Governor Richard Codey (D) Acting, Outgoing Jon Corzine (D) (Governor-Elect) Senators Jon Corzine (D) (Outgoing) Frank Lautenberg (D) Official language(s) None defined Area 22,608 km² (47th)  - Land 19,231 km²  - Water 3,378... James Gillespie Birney (February 4, 1792 - November 25, 1857) was an American presidential candidate for the Liberty Party in the 1840 and 1844 elections. ... Liberty Party was a political party in the United States during the mid-19th century. ... State nickname: The Empire State Other U.S. States Capital Albany Largest city New York City Governor George Pataki (R) Senators Charles Schumer (D) Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) Official languages None (English is de facto) Area 141,205 km² or 54,556 square miles (27th)  - Land 122,409 km²  - Water... Thomas Morris (January 3, 1776 - December 7, 1844) was a Democratic politician from Ohio. ... State nickname: The Buckeye State Other U.S. States Capital Columbus Largest city Columbus (largest metropolitan area is Cleveland) Governor Bob Taft (R) Senators Mike DeWine (R) George V. Voinovich (R) Official language(s) None Area 116,096 km² (34th)  - Land 106,154 km²  - Water 10,044 km² (8. ... July 27 is the 208th day (209th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 157 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Source (Electoral Vote): Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (July 31, 2005). July 31 is the 212th day (213th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 153 days remaining, as the final day of July. ... 2005 (MMV) is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


(a) The popular vote figures exclude South Carolina where the Electors were chosen by the state legislature rather than by popular vote. State nickname: Palmetto State Other U.S. States Capital Columbia Largest city Columbia Governor Mark Sanford (R) Senators Lindsey Graham (R) Jim DeMint (R) Official language(s) English Area 82,965 km² (40th)  - Land 78,051 km²  - Water 4,915 km² (6%) Population (2000)  - Population 4,012,012 (26th)  - Density...


Electoral college selection

Method of choosing Electors State(s)
each Elector appointed by state legislature South Carolina
each Elector chosen by voters statewide (all other states)

State nickname: Palmetto State Other U.S. States Capital Columbia Largest city Columbia Governor Mark Sanford (R) Senators Lindsey Graham (R) Jim DeMint (R) Official language(s) English Area 82,965 km² (40th)  - Land 78,051 km²  - Water 4,915 km² (6%) Population (2000)  - Population 4,012,012 (26th)  - Density...

Consequences

Polk's election confirmed the American public's desire for westward expansion. The annexation of Texas was formalized on March 1, 1845 before Polk even took office. This would lead almost immediately to the Mexican-American War. Meanwhile, the United States and Great Britain negotiated the Buchanan-Pakenham Treaty which divided up the Oregon Territory between the two countries. March 1 is the 60th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (61st in leap years). ... 1845 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... The Mexican-American War was fought between the United States and Mexico between 1846 and 1848. ... The 1846 Oregon Treaty, formally titled Treaty with Great Britain, in Regard to Limits Westward of the Rocky Mountains, and also known as the Treaty of Washington, established the border between the British and American sections of the Oregon Country. ...


See also

  • History of the United States (1789-1849)


After the election of George Washington as the first President of the United States in 1789, Congress passed the first of many laws organizing the government, and adopted a bill of rights in the form of ten amendments to the new Constitution—the United States Bill of Rights. ...

U.S. presidential elections

1789–1799: 1789 | 1792 | 1796
1800–1849: 1800 | 1804 | 1808 | 1812 | 1816 | 1820 | 1824 | 1828 | 1832 | 1836 | 1840 | 1844 | 1848
1850–1899: 1852 | 1856 | 1860 | 1864 | 1868 | 1872 | 1876 | 1880 | 1884 | 1888 | 1892 | 1896
1900–1949: 1900 | 1904 | 1908 | 1912 | 1916 | 1920 | 1924 | 1928 | 1932 | 1936 | 1940 | 1944 | 1948
1950–1999: 1952 | 1956 | 1960 | 1964 | 1968 | 1972 | 1976 | 1980 | 1984 | 1988 | 1992 | 1996
2000–2049: 2000 | 2004 | 2008
United States presidential elections determine who serves as President and Vice President of the United States for four-year terms, starting on Inauguration Day (January 20th of the year after the election). ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state The U.S. presidential election of 1792 was the second presidential election in the United States, and the first in which each of the original 13 states appointed electors (in addition to newly added states Kentucky and Vermont). ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state The U.S. presidential election of 1804 was the first presidential election conducted following the ratification of the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution. ... The election of 1808 was the first of only two cases where a new President would be elected, but the Vice Presidency remained in the same hands. ... Summary Taking place in the shadow of the War of 1812, the election of 1812 featured an intriguing competition between incumbent President James Madison and the nephew of his former Vice President, DeWitt Clinton (uncle George Clinton had died in office). ... Summary As Secretary of State under James Madison, James Monroe was seen by many as pre-ordained to succeed him into the presidency. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Summary President James Polk, having achieved virtually all of his objectives in one term and suffering from declining health that would take his life less than four months after leaving office, chose not to seek re-election. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Summary Keeping a promise made during the 1876 campaign, incumbent President Rutherford Hayes did not seek re-election. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Summary The election was held on November 6, 1900. ... Summary The election was held on November 8, 1904. ... Major party conventions The 1908 Republican Convention was held in Chicago from 16 June to 19 June. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Electoral College results In 1916, Europe was embroiled in World War I. American sentiment leaned towards the Allied Powers due to the occupation of parts of France and Belgium by the German Empire, but most American voters wanted to avoid involvement in the war, and preferred a policy of strict... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Introduction Incumbent President Coolidge was relatively popular, and the economy was booming. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... The election was held on November 8, 1988. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential election results map. ... Presidential electoral votes by state The U.S. presidential election of 2008 is scheduled to occur on November 4, 2008. ...

References

Books
  • Blum, John M., Bruce Catton, et al. (1963). The National Experience: A History of the United States, Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. ISBN 0155003666.
  • Holt, Michael F. (1999). The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505544-6.
Web sites

Bruce Catton (October 9, 1899 — August 28, 1978) was a journalist and a notable historian of the American Civil War. ... September 17 is the 260th day of the year (261st in leap years). ... 2005 (MMV) is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

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