1844 Democratic National Convention

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1844 Democratic National Convention
1844 Presidential Election
JamesKnoxPolk.png George M Dallas.jpg
Nominees
Polk and Dallas
Convention
Date(s) May 27–May 29, 1844
City Baltimore, Maryland
Venue Odd Fellows Hall
Candidates
Presidential nominee James K. Polk of Tennessee
Vice Presidential nominee George M. Dallas of Pennsylvania
1840  ·  1848

The 1844 Democratic National Convention held their National Convention in Baltimore. At first, the Democrats were split; the three candidates for the presidential nomination were:

The annexation of Texas was the chief political issue of the day. Van Buren, initially the leading candidate, opposed immediate annexation because it might lead to a sectional crisis over the status of slavery in the West. This position cost Van Buren the support of southern and expansionist Democrats; as a result, he failed to win the nomination. The delegates likewise could not settle on Cass, whose credentials also included past service as a U.S. minister to France.

On the eighth ballot, the historian George Bancroft, a delegate from Massachusetts, proposed former House Speaker James K. Polk as a compromise candidate. 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.

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, declined the nomination, becoming the first person to decline a vice presidential nomination. The Democrats then nominated George M. Dallas, a Pennsylvania lawyer.[1]

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Preceded by
1840
Baltimore
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
1848
Baltimore