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1844 Democratic National Convention
1844 Presidential Election
JamesKnoxPolk.png SWhightJr.jpg
Convention
Date(s) May 27–May 29
City Baltimore, Maryland
Venue Odd Fellows Hall
Candidates
Presidential Nominee James K. Polk of Tennessee
Vice Presidential Nominee Silas Wright of New York
1840  ·  1848

In 1844, the Democratic Party held their National Convention in Baltimore. Former President Martin Van Buren was again the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination. The annexation of Texas was the chief political issue of the day. Van Buren opposed immediate annexation because it might lead to war with Mexico. This position cost Van Buren the support of the West and of the South, which sought to expand slave territory. Polk argued that Texas and Oregon had always belonged to the United States by right. He called for "the immediate reannexation of Texas" and for the "reoccupation" of the disputed Oregon Territory.

Van Buren failed to win the two-thirds vote then required for nomination. The delegates could not agree on Van Buren or his chief rival, Lewis Cass of Michigan, a former U.S. minister to France. On the eighth ballot, the historian George Bancroft, a delegate from Massachusetts, proposed Polk as a compromise candidate. On the next roll call, the convention unanimously accepted Polk, who became the first "dark horse," or little-known, presidential candidate. The delegates selected Senator Silas Wright of New York for vice president. But Wright, an admirer of Van Buren, rejected the nomination. This was the first time a man actually nominated for vice president refused to run. The Democrats then nominated George M. Dallas, a Pennsylvania lawyer.[1]

See also

Notes

Preceded by
1840
Baltimore
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
1848
Baltimore
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