Last Best Hope of Earth

A Blog Covering US History and Politics



Election of 1848: Whig Victory

The White House in 1848. Credit: Library of Congress.

On November 7, 1848, Americans went to the polls to choose between Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, and Lewis Cass.

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Election of 1848: The Barnburners

A Political Cartoon Regarding the Barnburners.

Approaching the Election of 1848, President James Polk did not have unanimous support amongst Democrats. In fact, quite the opposite.

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Election of 1848: The Candidates

The Whig Ticket for President, Zachary Taylor, and Vice President, Millard Fillmore.

The Election of 1848 was bound to be unique, as President James Polk had made clear that he would serve only one term as president. With that, the Whigs and the Democrats had to put forth candidates that could meet the parties’ respective goals of reversing President Polk’s policies (the Whigs) and expanding on President Polk’s policies (the Democrats).

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The Mass Immigration of the 1840s

Photograph of the Five Points Neighborhood of New York City. Photographer Unknown.

In the mid-1840s, the last major famine in European history would take place in Ireland. This famine would have significant ramifications for America, as it would lead to a massive wave of immigrants.

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The Death of John Quincy Adams

Daguerrotype of John Quincy Adams.

One of the most outspoken Representatives in the House of Representatives, John Quincy Adams, had opposed the declaration of war on Mexico and fought President James Polk’s policies for the duration of his presidency.

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Lincoln’s Spot Resolutions

Political Cartoon Depicting Abraham Lincoln.

At the end of the Mexican-American War, President James Polk proposed taking as much as Mexico’s land as possible. However, he proposed this plan to a majority Whig House of Representatives.

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America in 1848

John Calhoun.

In 1848, when word spread to America that a revolution was breaking out in France, President James Polk wrote: “The great principles of popular sovereignty which were proclaimed in 1776 by the immortal author of our Declaration of Independence, seem now to be in the course of rapid development throughout the world.” James Knox Polk to Richard Rush, April 18, 1848, quoted in Michael Morrison, “American Reactions to European Revolutions, 1848-1852,” Civil War History 49 (June 2003): 117.

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The Persecution of Winfield Scott

Engraving of Winfield Scott.

Throughout the course of the Mexican-American War, General Winfield Scott was increasingly becoming a hero to Americans. While many Americans looked at Scott’s actions and could only admire him, one man took action to ensure Scott would not have a pristine reputation. That man was President James Polk.

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The Whig Revolution

The County Election. By: George Caleb Bingham.

With the Mexican-American War well underway, the midterm elections in 1846-47 were bound to be consequential.

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