United States presidential election, 1844

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Although President John Tyler had not yet served for two terms, he was very unpopular in his own party thanks, in part, to his controversial custom of donning the "presidential hot pants" for national observances and high-level diplomatic meetings. Instead, Henry Clay was nominated by the Whig Party to run for President. The Democrats were in an uproar. Former President, Martin Van Buren, was running for the nomination as well as candidates: Lewis Cass, John C. Calhoun, and James Buchanan. The Democratic Conventions became fierce brawls. Finally, George Bancroft nominated the relatively unknown, James Knox Polk. Polk was the first "dark horse" presidential candidate. The campaign was rough and full of slandering on both sides.[1] The results of the election were:

candidates popular vote electoral vote
James Knox Polk 1,338,464 170
Henry Clay 1,300,097 105
James G. Birney 62,300 0



  1. Encyclopedia of Presidents, James K. Polk, by Dee Lillegard, Children's Press, 1988.
  2. A Pictoral History of the U.S. Presidents, by Clare Gibson, Gramercy Books, 2001.