Under The Sea

Under The Sea

  • Submitted By: Jusdy98
  • Date Submitted: 05/13/2014 7:39 PM
  • Category: Business
  • Words: 475
  • Page: 2

The story of Polk is often portrayed as the story of a relatively unknown regional candidate who is nominated for president as a compromise candidate with the support of Andrew Jackson and accidentally skyrockets to fame. Polk has long been known as our “first dark-horse President.” This is, unfortunately, an inaccurate impression. He was, in fact, one of the most important figures of his age well before he was elected to the presidency. He was a chief lieutenant of Jackson in his campaign against the national bank; he served as Speaker of the House of Representatives between 1835 and 1839; then he quit that post to become Governor of Tennessee. He had been out of office for a few years when he ran for the presidency, it is true, but he was not a dark horse and that is a common misconception brought on, I think, by the derisive Whig campaign slogan of “Who Is James K. Polk?” That he died three months after leaving the White House also helps keep him obscure.

Most people I share my fondness for James K. Polk and Polk scholarship with laugh at me. I find that few people know much about him or his era. I suspect that people reject formal and informal study of the Polk presidency for two basic reasons: it happened so long ago that people succumb to the common urge to ask, Who cares about 1845-1849? but I also believe that people figure that all of the great issues of Polk's time have long been settled and thus have no relevance in today's world. I reject this malaise as pure naiveté. Polk is among the most successful and important presidents, and few presidents have shaped the presidency such as he has. This I hope to demonstrate.

A political scientist named Charles McCoy published a book in 1960 called Polk and the Presidency; it is the most significant book written on the subject of the Polk presidency by a political scientist. The book begins with the following assertion: "The Presidency of the United States is much more than what the Constitution...

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