1840 Democratic Convention

Baltimore, Maryland

May 27 to 29, 1844

Nominated: James Polk, of Tennessee for President

Nominated: for George M Dallas of Pennsylvania for Vice President

The 1844 Democratic convention was the first truly divided convention. The Democratic party was split both over whether to annex Texas as part of the United States. This was the beginning of the split that would divide the party over the issue of slavery. Texas would be a slave state- and many opposed adding another slave state- while those in the south were enthusiastic in their support for the annexation. Former President Van Buren was the official leader of the party and had the majority of convention votes pledged to him. Van Buren opposed annexation and had never been popular within the party, and thus there was a determined effort to stop his nomination. Robert Walker of Mississippi led the opposition. He passed a resolution requiring a 2/3 vote to nominate a President. On the first vote Van Buren received 146 of the 266 votes cast- a majority but not enough to be selected. On subsequent votes Van Buren's support quickly diminished. Lewis Cass seemed likely to receive the nomination, but the convention adjourned for the night. The Van Buren forces decided to support James Polk who endorsed the annexation of Texas. On the eighth ballot Polk received 44 votes. On the next vote Van Buren threw his support to Polk and he was soon nominated unanimously.