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1839 Whig National Convention

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1839 Whig National Convention
1840 presidential election
Harrison and Tyler
Date(s)December 4–8, 1839
CityHarrisburg, Pennsylvania
Presidential nomineeWilliam H. Harrison of Ohio
Vice Presidential nomineeJohn Tyler of Virginia
1844 ›

The 1839 Whig National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held from December 4 to December 8 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was the first national convention ever held by the Whig Party, and was organized to select the party's nominee in the 1840 presidential election. The convention nominated former Senator William Henry Harrison of Ohio for president and former Senator John Tyler of Virginia for vice president.

After Daniel Webster dropped out of the race, the three leading candidates for the Whig nomination were General Harrison, who had been the most successful Whig candidate in the 1836 presidential election; General Winfield Scott, a hero of the War of 1812; and Senator Henry Clay, the Whigs' congressional and philosophical leader. With Southern delegates united behind him, Clay led on the first presidential ballot, but failed to win a majority. Harrison won the nomination on the fifth ballot after several delegates switched from supporting Clay or Scott. The convention chose Tyler, a Southerner and Clay supporter, to serve as Harrison's running mate. The Whig ticket went on to win the 1840 election, defeating incumbent Democratic President Martin Van Buren.

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Jimmy Dore: The way to oppose Trump is to offer people something else He ran to the left of Hillary Clinton on foreign policy He wanted to end our foreign wars according to his rhetoric in his campaign He wanted to give everybody healthcare, remember? Everyone's going to get healthcare and it's gonna be cheaper. That was his plan. And of course he's doing the exact opposite. Joe Rogan: Yeah But who does the thing they say they are going to do? Who ever? Who's ever done it? No one. Mr. Beat Yeah! Freaking politicians. But then I came across this article on Go ahead. Go ahead, show it. Apparently that’s not true. The article says politicians do keep their promises most of the time. The author based it off a study looking at campaign promises over a period of 50 years. During those 50 years, Presidents at least attempted to fulfill around 2/3 of their campaign promises But why am I even bringing this up? Well when I think of American Presidents who kept their promises, the first one that always pops in my head is the 11th President, James K. Polk. He had such a big impact on the United States, yet today most Americans don't even know about him. He’s so obscure, that my song about him is one of my worst performing videos on YouTube. It has just like 4,000 views. (James Polk song) Ok, so maybe it’s a bad song, but still, James Polk is underrated. So in this video, I’m going to give him some much needed recognition. Polk was born literally in a log cabin near Pineville, North Carolina on November 2, 1795, the oldest of ten kids. When he was ten, his family picked up everything and moved west to the Tennessee frontier. They took the 500-mile journey by wagon, and it sucked. However, James’ dad did well in Tennessee, living the American Dream, eventually owning thousands of acres of farmland and lots and lots of slaves. Polk was sickly growing up. At 17, he had horrible gallstones and had to have them surgically removed. This was before anesthesia, ok. They cut open his body and removed the gallstones while he was completely conscious, strapped to a table and holding his dad’s hand. But the good news is his overall health recovered quite a bit after this. At 18, he barely knew how to read or write, but he really kicked it into gear at that age, studying his butt off and becoming proficient in English, Greek, and Latin. He ended up graduating from the University of North Carolina with first honors in both mathematics and classics. Next, Polk studied law and found himself becoming more and more interested in politics. He was always a fan of Thomas Jefferson, but he was quickly becoming inspired by a family friend named Andrew Jackson. By the time Polk was in his twenties, Jackson was a war hero who was looking to become President. After being a lawyer for a bit, Polk aligned himself with Jackson when he ran for the Tennessee legislature in 1823. He won that election and became popular in Tennessee, becoming a Representative in Congress for Tennessee’s Sixth District two years later. While in Congress, Polk was one of Andrew Jackson’s biggest supporters, earning him the nickname “Young Hickory,” you know...since Jackson was “Old Hickory?” So clever, I know. After Jackson became President in 1829, Polk was right with Jackson on every major decision, including the decision not to renew the charter of the Second Bank of the United States. His support made Polk one of the early leaders of the newly formed Democratic Party. Polk’s colleagues elected him to Speaker of the House in 1835, and he greatly expanded that role. In 1839, Tennessee residents elected him governor. However, he lost his re-election bids the next two times as many blamed the Democratic Party for the economic depression of the late 1830s and early 1840s. In 1844, Polk became the first dark-horse Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, meaning at the beginning of the Democratic Party national convention no one thought he had a chance but by the end of it he was their guy, mostly because Polk wanted to annex the country of Texas, adding it to the United States. Yes, it was a country at the time. So in 1844, it ended up being Polk versus Henry Clay, the Whig Party candidate who had a history of losing presidential elections. Sorry Clay. During his campaign, Polk made no effort to hide his ambitions. He was very clear. "He wanted Texas, California, Oregon, yeah all of it!" He was a firm believer in manifest destiny, or the belief that the United States expanding across the entire continent was the right thing to do and destined to happen. Polk wanted to expand the country’s border whenever and wherever possible, and most Americans seemed to agree with him. Polk promised he was only running for one term, but if elected, during those four years he would 1) cut tariffs 2) re-create an independent U.S. Treasury 3) add some or all of Oregon Territory to the United States And 4) somehow get California and New Mexico from Mexico and add it to the United States Or put another way "James Polk reduce the tariff, James Polk free the treasury, James Polk acquire new land" These were four ridiculously ambitious goals that few thought Polk could actually pull off, especially in four years. Well, I have a video about the Election of 1844. Yeah, so go ahead and go check out that video and come back. Welcome back! so, as you saw in that video you just watched, Polk won the election in a very close race, becoming the youngest President in American history up to that point. So yeah, let’s look at those four promises Polk had. Could you put them back up on the screen please? Thank you. Yeah, so number 1 was "cut tariffs" Yep, even though it was a hard-fought victory, Polk signed the Walker Tariff of 1846 after his Vice President, George Dallas, cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. The Walker Tariff moved rates down to 25%. It was one of the lowest tariffs in American history. Success. 2) re-create an independent U.S. Treasury Well this one was easier, and I probably should note that in 1844 the Democrats took back over their majority in Congress. So yeah, Congress brought back the Independent Treasury and Polk approved it of course. This was a system for the federal government to take care of the money supply in a way that was independent of banks and financial systems. It was a solid system that ended up lasting until the Federal Reserve System replaced it 67 years later. 3) add some or all of Oregon Territory to the United States So Great Britain and the United States had both occupied the territory since 1818, but the majority of settlers there were American, not British, so Polk had the upper hand with negotiations. When Polk and Britain started talking about what to do with Oregon, Polk said he wanted all the territory, all the way up to 54°40'. This was totally a bluff, but it scared Britain, who did not want to get into another war with the United States. Instead, on June 15, 1846, they worked out a deal and split the territory in two, right down the middle. Britain got north of the 49th parallel, and the United States got south of it. That easy. Polk almost single handedly got the United States what would become the states of Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, three states with lots of resources and control of the Columbia River drainage basin. 4) somehow get California and New Mexico from Mexico and add it to the United States This would not be easy, but Polk knew if he wanted California and New Mexico, it first had to be through Texas. He had already helped get Texas to join the United States- it became the 28th state on December 29, 1845. But there was still a border dispute between Texas and Mexico. Texas, and Polk, I should add, said its southern border was the Rio Grande, but Mexico said the border was further north, at the Nueces River. Polk sent troops there just north of the Rio Grande, in the disputed territory, also sending a dude named John Slidell to settle the border dispute, as well as negotiate to straight up buy California. However, the majority of Mexicans weren’t having it. In April 1846, Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande and killed eleven American soldiers. According to Mexico, the Americans had invaded their land. Well, Polk didn’t see it that way. On May 11, 1846, Polk went before Congress to passionately argue for the United States to go to war with Mexico, saying THEY were the invaders who “shed the blood of our fellow-citizens on our own soil.” Yeah, Congress declared war on Mexico, a war that became known as the Mexican American War. In a war that lasted just under two years, the United States straight up kicked butt throughout most of it. At the end of it, American forces led by Major General Winfield Scott were able to overcome extremely difficult resistance from the Mexican Army just outside Mexico City, the capital. But after Scott was able to capture Mexico City, the war was over. While some Americans talked about taking over ALL of Mexico during peace negotiations, ultimately the United States acquired just the northern half of Mexico. Just, huh...we’re talking a huge amount of land. Look at all that. So yeah, James Polk he got his way. So here’s the United States without Polk being President. Here’s the United States with Polk being President. Good golly Polk. The country grew by more than 1/3, and Manifest Destiny seemed fulfilled. All four promises kept, and even though he had all four checked off, he didn’t stop working. He was a workaholic up until his last day in office, when he signed a bill creating the Department of the Interior. Also as promised, Polk did not run for a second term. He retired, and went on a trip across the South. While in New Orleans, Polk contracted cholera, a horrible bacterial infection of the small intestine. Polk had serious stomach issues, but shrugged it off as he had had stomach issues for most of his life. Well, the sickness did not go away. He ended up dying from cholera on June 15, 1849, exactly three years after getting Oregon and just three months after leaving the Presidency. He was just 53. A few months ago I released a top 10 greatest American Presidents video and you may remember that James Polk did not make that list. And, mostly because I just think he was one ruthless dude. Sure, he kept his promise to the people, which is pretty gnarly, but he straight up misled Congress when he convinced them to go to war with Mexico. I mean, he said that Mexico invaded the United States and invaded them on their soil but the Mexicans said that the Americans were the ones who invaded THEM and they were just defending their land, so You know, he was kind of a jerk. and despite what you say about that, there's no doubt that he was extremely important to American history. He was underrated, and he simply does not get the credit he deserves, maybe because of being sort of a jerk. I want to give a shout out to John Johnson. He suggested this great video topic, and I took it not only because it was good, but because he is one of my George Washington-level supporters on Patreon. YouTube keeps taking down my videos or demonetizing them, so Patreon is becoming more and more important with regards to making this worthwhile. So, thank you to all my Patreon supporters. It means so much. And if you can't support, don't worry. If you want to Just look me up on Patreon, search "Mr. Beat." But thank YOU for watching. Yes...YOU. with the green shirt on.


Presidential balloting

Clay led on the first ballot, but circumstances conspired to deny him the nomination. First, the convention came on the heels of a string of Whig electoral losses, and party members were anxious to reverse the trend. Harrison managed to distance himself from the losses, but Clay, as the party's philosophical leader, could not. Had the convention been held in the spring of 1840, when the continuing economic downturn caused by the Panic of 1837 led to a string of Whig victories, Clay would have had much greater support. Second, the convention rules had been drawn up so that whoever won the majority of delegates from a given state would win all the votes from that state. This worked against Clay, who could have combined solid majority support in almost all the Southern delegations (with little potential for opponents to capitalize on a proportional distribution of delegates), and a large minority support in Northern delegations if the rules allowed counting of individual delegate votes. Third, several Southern states whose Whig party organizations supported Clay abstained from sending delegates to the convention.

Harrison won on the fifth ballot after Clay delegates from Illinois and Scott delegates from Michigan, New York, and Vermont combined to switch their support to Harrison.

The state-by-state roll call was printed in the newspaper the Farmer's Cabinet on December 13, 1839:

Convention vote
Presidential vote 1 2 3 4 5 Vice Presidential Vote 1
William H. Harrison 94 94 91 91 148 John Tyler 231
Henry Clay 103 103 95 95 90 Abstaining 23
Winfield Scott 57 57 68 68 16

Vice presidential nominee

Because Harrison (born in Virginia) was considered a Northerner (as a resident of Ohio), the Whigs needed to balance the ticket with a Southerner. They also sought a Clay supporter to help unite the party. After being turned down by several potential candidates, including John J. Crittenden, John Bell, and Willie Person Mangum, the convention finally found its Southerner who had faithfully supported Clay and would accept: former Senator John Tyler.[1] Tyler was well known to the delegates, having previously been the running mate of Hugh Lawson White and Willie Person Mangum during the four-way Whig campaign of 1836.[2] Tyler was easily nominated on the first ballot.


During the balloting, Clay and Scott played cards with Whig politicians John J. Crittenden and George Evans at the Astor House hotel in New York City. When the group received word of Harrison's victory, Clay blamed his loss on Scott and struck him, with the blow landing on the shoulder which had been wounded during Scott's participation in the Battle of Lundy's Lane. Afterwards Clay had to be physically removed from the hotel room. Scott then sent Crittenden to Clay with Scott's challenge for a duel, but Crittenden reconciled them by convincing Clay to apologize.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Niles, Hezekiah (December 11, 1841). "Harrisburg Convention". Niles' National Register. Baltimore, MD. p. 232 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Witcover, Jules (2014). The American Vice Presidency. Smithsonian Books. pp. 100–101.
  3. ^ Eisenhower, John S. D. (1999). Agent of Destiny: The Life and Times of General Winfield Scott. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 205–206. ISBN 978-0-8061-3128-3.

External links

This page was last edited on 2 January 2020, at 17:54
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