Dark Horse -
· An unexpected political candidate
Distribution Act -
· An Act sponsored by Henry Clay that sent the government's surplus
tax revenue back to the states on an equalized basis. Polk objected
to the bill because it actually only gave the money as a loan.
Therefore, the states might be liable for repaying the money later.
Fifty-Four, Forty or Fight -
· Polk's expansionist campaign slogan, a reference to
the 54th parallel, the Alaskan border. The U.S. claimed that the
Oregon territory stretched all the way up through Canada.
Manifest Destiny -
· Manifest Destiny was a phrase used by politicians in
the 1840s to explain and justify continental expansion by the United
States all the way across to the Pacific Ocean. By giving the country
a "mission"–to expand the liberties and freedom of America all the
way across the country–they were able to garner support for Westward
expansion, the Mexican War, and other expansionist ideas.
Monroe Doctrine -
· The Doctrine, put in place by President James Monroe
which stated that European interference in the affairs of the Americas would
not be tolerated.
· A financial tool developed by President Martin Van
Buren that would place all the government's money in a government depository
to prevent a crunch like the one in effect when he assumed office.
The sub-treasury, though, would not be passed until Polk's administration,
however, with the passing of the Independent Treasury Act of 1846.
Wilmot Proviso -
· An amendment to a bill that granted Polk the money
to buy New Mexico and California from Mexico, the Wilmot Proviso prevented
slavery in the new territories. The bill failed to pass because
of the Proviso, thereby prolonging the Mexican War.
congressman and one of Polk's loudest critics and opponents. He
led the effort to nominate Hugh Lawson White rather than Martin
Van Buren for president.
troublesome and politically ambitious secretary of state. Polk saw
Buchanan as too worried about his own future to be of much help
in governing. Buchanan later became president after Zachary Taylor.
senator and later the crafter of the Compromise of 1850. Clay repeatedly
sought the presidency on the Whig ticket and fiercely opposed Polk.
congressman and famous frontiersman, a harsh critic of Polk's. He
died at the Alamo in 1836.
mentor in Tennessee, Grundy–a former chief justice of the Kentucky
supreme court–taught Polk law and later helped guide him through
William Henry Harrison
The ninth president of the U.S. He caught pneumonia
after his rainy inauguration and lived only a month in office.
unpopular running-mate of Martin Van Buren.
Sarah Childress Polk
of a quarter century. Her cordiality won many friends in Washington
for her and her husband and repeatedly she urged her husband to slow
down so that he did not work himself to death. She died at age
eighty-seven in August 1891 and was buried beside her husband.
ambitious general who led the capture of Mexico City after launching
an amphibious invasion at Vera Cruz. He defied repeated orders
from Polk in his quest to secure the peace treaty and thus claim greater
glory than Zachary Taylor. He hoped to secure the Whig nomination
for president in 1848.
politically ambitious general who started the Mexican War and then
captured much of northeastern Mexico. He succeeded Polk to the
presidency in 1849.
reluctant vice president for William Henry Harrison. Upon Harrison's
death, he began a long switch from Whig politics to Democratic
politics and eventually came to be hated by both parties. He offered Polk
the position of secretary of the navy.
Martin Van Buren
The eighth president of the U.S. and the chosen protégé
of Andrew Jackson. Van Buren lost reelection in 1842 and his anti-annexation
feelings cost him the nomination in 1848.