Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > American History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

American History American History Forum - United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America


View Poll Results: Who do you vote for as President in 1844?
James K. Polk 7 38.89%
Henry Clay 10 55.56%
James Birney 0 0%
Joseph Smith 1 5.56%
Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old June 11th, 2018, 07:01 PM   #1

Viperlord's Avatar
Tilting at Windmills
 
Joined: Aug 2010
From: VA
Posts: 7,972
Blog Entries: 22
Presidential Election: 1844


In the election of 1844, the two major contending parties are Whigs, led by the venerable Henry Clay, and Democrats, led by former Speaker of the House James K. Polk. Polk stands for the protection and expansion of US territory and slavery with it, taking an aggressive position on annexing Texas, the hot political topic of the day in the election. Clay stands against annexation if there is "sectional tension" involved, playing on Northern Whig fears of a slave empire and Southern Whig concerns over inflation of the price of slaves; Clay himself was a Kentuckian slave owner. However, Clay equivocates somewhat on the issue throughout the election; the Whig platform largely features less controversial issues. There are also two third party candidates of some note; Mormon leader Joseph Smith (who was killed before the campaign concluded, but I'll include him anyway) and Liberty Party candidate James Birney, an abolitionist.


The platforms of the two main parties are linked below, and without further ado, cast and post your votes, and discuss the election and politics of the era in general!



Democratic Party Platforms: 1844 Democratic Party Platform


Minor/Third Party Platforms: Whig Party Platform of 1844
Viperlord is offline  
Remove Ads
Old June 11th, 2018, 07:20 PM   #2

Futurist's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: May 2014
From: SoCal
Posts: 12,280
Blog Entries: 8

I voted for Polk since the U.S. strongly benefited from the territory and living space that he acquired for us during his Presidency. The slavery issue could have been and was successfully dealt with later.
Futurist is online now  
Old June 11th, 2018, 08:00 PM   #3
Archivist
 
Joined: Oct 2013
From: Illinois
Posts: 144

Voted for Polk. Guy put so much in his 1 term that it killed him. What kind of race do you think him and Tyler would have had against each other?
Wassup is offline  
Old June 11th, 2018, 08:09 PM   #4
Historian
 
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,087

I voted for Henry Clay. I'm not a fan of Polk's territorial aggression against Mexico. I'm vehemently anti-slavery, but did not choose Birney because he didn't have a realistic chance of winning.
Olustee is offline  
Old June 11th, 2018, 08:34 PM   #5

Sam-Nary's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jun 2012
From: At present SD, USA
Posts: 6,570

Henry Clay...

I cannot agree with the rather reckless spirit with which Polk campaigned to expand the US. "Manifest Destiny" is fine and all that, the promise or desire for territory in Texas and Oregon presented a major risk of war, and potentially a THIRD war with Great Britain. In this... pledging to demand territory or fight is not the way to go about it...

And while I may personally support things like abolitionism, and would argue that even by 1844, slavery had gone on far too long, there is also the point where one must also look what is practical. And Henry Clay had proven more than capable of handling many issues. In this, if any political steps were to be taken that would weaken the power of the southern slave owners, it would need to come with some measure that would try to enable there to be either compromise or at least balanced with other policies with a chance of success.

Birney may have had the right message with regard to slavery, did not have any experience with governing the country and that much of the Liberty Party's proposed policies seemed to relate to Birney's religious leanings. And while he may have helped Henry Clay in earlier political campaigns, that is still different from running the country, and by 1844, ANYONE running on a campaign that promised to limit slavery would be potentially looking at civil war if he wins... In this, while I do not agree with Clay's compromises on slavery, I'd think him better at holding the nation together than Birney.
Sam-Nary is online now  
Old June 11th, 2018, 08:51 PM   #6

Futurist's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: May 2014
From: SoCal
Posts: 12,280
Blog Entries: 8

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam-Nary View Post
Henry Clay...

I cannot agree with the rather reckless spirit with which Polk campaigned to expand the US. "Manifest Destiny" is fine and all that, the promise or desire for territory in Texas and Oregon presented a major risk of war, and potentially a THIRD war with Great Britain. In this... pledging to demand territory or fight is not the way to go about it...
That's why it was imperative to negotiate with Great Britain in order to achieve a compromise. Indeed, the ultimate outcome of Oregon Country being split right down the middle satisfied everyone.

Also, I completely agree with you that Birney didn't have any governing experience.
Futurist is online now  
Old June 12th, 2018, 04:14 AM   #7

nuclearguy165's Avatar
Snake's Eye
 
Joined: Nov 2011
From: Ohio, USA
Posts: 4,607

Polk. I have nothing particularly against the Mexican War, as the settlers in the region under question preferred American control over Mexican, the latter of which's hold over the southwest was really only nominal in a lot of regards anyway. Polk also struck me as the more transformative and skillful in a chief executive position. I like Henry Clay but I believe his talents were better suited in a legislative rather than executive position.
nuclearguy165 is offline  
Old June 12th, 2018, 07:36 AM   #8

Sam-Nary's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jun 2012
From: At present SD, USA
Posts: 6,570

Quote:
Originally Posted by Futurist View Post
That's why it was imperative to negotiate with Great Britain in order to achieve a compromise. Indeed, the ultimate outcome of Oregon Country being split right down the middle satisfied everyone.
It did, but Polk's demand for the territory listed the range of the territory that was wanted and included the ending "or fight." That ending doesn't come off as the sort that seeming willing to negotiate and reach a compromise and would ultimately depend on Britain not wanting a war. And Polk could have no real way of knowing how firm the British would be in response to defending their claims on Oregon...

If the British stand firm to their claims for the territory, then it's war, and one the US might not be able to easily win. Polk's pledge depends entirely on the British not wanting to fight and offering concessions first, and after making such a pledge, I don't think he'd really be in a position to engage in actual negotiations for the territory without major problems...

Clay, on the other hand, I think would be better at handling such negotiations should Britain not back down.
Sam-Nary is online now  
Old June 12th, 2018, 07:08 PM   #9

DIVUS IVLIVS's Avatar
Bibliophile
 
Joined: Mar 2009
From: Virginia
Posts: 3,027

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam-Nary View Post
It did, but Polk's demand for the territory listed the range of the territory that was wanted and included the ending "or fight." That ending doesn't come off as the sort that seeming willing to negotiate and reach a compromise and would ultimately depend on Britain not wanting a war. And Polk could have no real way of knowing how firm the British would be in response to defending their claims on Oregon...

If the British stand firm to their claims for the territory, then it's war, and one the US might not be able to easily win. Polk's pledge depends entirely on the British not wanting to fight and offering concessions first, and after making such a pledge, I don't think he'd really be in a position to engage in actual negotiations for the territory without major problems...

Clay, on the other hand, I think would be better at handling such negotiations should Britain not back down.
The counterargument to this line of reasoning is that without the threat of war to force the issue and concentrate the minds of all involved, the British government might not have been willing to give up their claim to half the territory (and the more desirable half at that). It's true that Polk had no way to be certain that Britain wouldn't stand firm in the face of his sabre-rattling, but he chose to gamble that they would rather fold than fight - and it would be churlish not to recognise that his gamble paid off.

If his gambit had failed, a war between Britain and the USA in the 1840s is a fascinating counterfactual to consider. I imagine it would have played out as an epic rematch of the War of 1812, with an American invasion and occupation of Canada. How the naval dimensions of such a conflict would have played out is anybody's guess. The one certainty is that Britain would have had far more to lose than gain in such a contest - but the same would not necessarily be true for the Americans. That is what I suspect Polk was counting on, when he embarked on his game of brinkmanship.

Interestingly, several historians I have read argue that Polk blundered by raising the issue at all, and the United States would have been better served if the government had maintained a policy of 'masterly inaction' over the Oregon territory. Because the flow of American settlers into the region was much greater than the flow of British settlers, eventually the demographic balance would have ensured the entire territory fell into US hands. This was the policy John C. Calhoun advocated at the time. Writing from the perspective of the future, Theodore Roosevelt also thought the US should have aimed to possess the entire Pacific raincoast, and not compromised short of that goal.
DIVUS IVLIVS is offline  
Old June 12th, 2018, 07:29 PM   #10

Viperlord's Avatar
Tilting at Windmills
 
Joined: Aug 2010
From: VA
Posts: 7,972
Blog Entries: 22

It is interesting to note the increased national visibility of the parties and what they did or didn't stand for via their platforms; Whig equivocation on controversy and attempting to take multiple sides on issues in different regions increasingly does not work and the party dies within a decade. The fractures in the Democrats, while not as immediately fatal, are also there; Polk was a dark-horse compromise candidate at the convention.



Also, opinions, what other nineteenth century polls should I do? 1876 and 1896 are musts I think, and I probably need to do at least one of the Cleveland vs Harrison elections.
Viperlord is offline  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > American History

Tags
1844, election, presidential



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Presidential Election: 1828 Viperlord American History 11 June 13th, 2018 05:05 PM
Henry Clay wins the 1844 presidential election Salah Speculative History 10 August 23rd, 2015 12:21 PM
1876 Presidential Election okamido American History 5 June 28th, 2012 03:48 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.