James knox polk: The first imperial president?

Karlyn Kohrs Campbell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


"Who is James Polk?" sneered Whigs in the 1844 presidential campaign. A Whig circular declared, "He is destitute of the commanding talent-the stern integrity-the high moral fitness-the Union should possess at this crisis, and has twice been rejected for the Office of Governor in his own State-having no hold upon the confidence or affections of his countrymen at home, and no talent to command respect for us abroad he is not the man for the times or for the Union." Still another Whig described him as "A blighted burr that has fallen from the mane of the warhorse of the Hermitage."1 When Senator William Cabell Rives of Virginia heard of Polk's nomination, he wrote to his wife: "[T]he polk-a dance [which was newly popular in Washington] will now be the order of the day, which I understand is two steps backward for one in advance."2 When he defeated Henry Clay, an angry Virginian exclaimed, "[I]t is a disgrace . . . to have elected . . . that infernal poke of all pokes James K. Polk."3 To many, "dark horse" Democratic nominee James Polk was a pig in a poke, and little was expected of him.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBefore the Rhetorical Presidency
PublisherTexas A & M University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9781603440714
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008


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