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A Morality Ranking of the US Presidents


vcczar

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I was thinking that a lot of the time people somewhat skew their presidential rankings based on their own personal morality, rather than the successes of failures of the presidency. I've decided to create a list that ignored success or failure, but is judged purely based on the morality of the presidents. As morality is personal, this is a very personal ranking. 

Slave-holders will be penalized, even if they were otherwise principled and good, since many of them condemned slavery, believed it was evil, but would only release their slaves in their will. They were strong men in some ways, but didn't have the strength to free unpaid servants. 

This is NOT a list on who I think were the greatest presidents. In fact, some very unsuccessful presidents are at the top of the list, and some good ones are near the bottom. My own personal morality bends towards 1) Civil Rights 2) care for the elderly, disabled, and the poor 3) income equality 4) anti-discrimination 5) funding to education, sciences and the arts 6) decreasing involvement in wars, or avoiding them altogether. 7) relative tolerance of immigrants and minorities. 8) humanitarian efforts abroad 9) interceding during disaster or crises domestically or abroad 10) reforming corruption . These are in no particular order. It should be noted that there is not a single angel on this list, neither is there an absolute devil. 

John Quincy Adams

Abraham Lincoln

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

Jimmy Carter

James A. Garfield

Lyndon B. Johnson

Barack Obama

Ulysses S. Grant

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Harry S. Truman

Herbert Hoover

William Howard Taft

Benjamin Harrison

John Adams

John F. Kennedy

Woodrow Wilson

GHW Bush

Bill Clinton

Gerald Ford

Chester A. Arthur

William McKinley

George W. Bush

Rutherford B. Hayes

Thomas Jefferson

Warren G. Harding

Grover Cleveland

Calvin Coolidge

Ronald Reagan

Millard Fillmore

Franklin Pierce

James Buchanan

Martin Van Buren

George Washington

James Madison

James Monroe

Zachary Taylor

William Henry Harrison

*Donald Trump [prediction]

Richard Nixon

Andrew Johnson

James K. Polk

John Tyler

Andrew Jackson

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Looks about right, but I think that Nixon and Coolidge should be moved up, and JFK moved down.

Nixon didn't do WaterGate, they blamed it on him, and not knowing what to do, he tried to play it cool and cover it up.

Coolidge was pretty chill, not much bad to say about him.

JFK however, was accused of having many extra-marital affairs, even while President, and regardless of whether or not they may be true, the fact that he was even accused of them puts his morality in question.

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Let me take a crack at this, liberals will love it for sure. I'm basing it off my personal morality as vcczar did and any President who would believe in Abortion or openly supports it or has extra marital affairs will be very close to bottom.

Jimmy Carter

Harry S. Truman

Calvin Coolidge

Abraham Lincoln

James A. Garfield

George W. Bush

Herbert Hoover

Ben Harrison

Taft

GHW Bush

Ronald Reagan

Gerald Ford

TR

Dwight D. Eisenhower

John Adams

JQ Adams

U.S. Grant

James Madison

James Monroe

George Washington

Woodrow Wilson

Chester Arthur

Hayes

McKinley

Franklin Pierce

James Polk

William H. Harrison

Andrew Jackson

Martin Van Buren

Millard Fillmore

Taylor

Nixon

Andrew Johnson

Tyler

Grover Cleveland

JFK

Jefferson

Harding

FDR

Obama

LBJ

Bill Clinton

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Reagan04 said:

Let me take a crack at this, liberals will love it for sure. I'm basing it off my personal morality as vcczar did and any President who would believe in Abortion or openly supports it or has extra marital affairs will be very close to bottom.

Jimmy Carter

Harry S. Truman

Calvin Coolidge

Abraham Lincoln

James A. Garfield

George W. Bush

Herbert Hoover

Ben Harrison

Taft

GHW Bush

Ronald Reagan

Gerald Ford

TR

Dwight D. Eisenhower

John Adams

JQ Adams

U.S. Grant

James Madison

James Monroe

George Washington

Woodrow Wilson

Chester Arthur

Hayes

McKinley

Franklin Pierce

James Polk

William H. Harrison

Andrew Jackson

Martin Van Buren

Millard Fillmore

Taylor

Nixon

Andrew Johnson

Tyler

Grover Cleveland

JFK

Jefferson

Harding

FDR

Obama

LBJ

Bill Clinton

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think warmonger Presidents (especially those who fought wars solely for resources or land that at the time was only meant to benefit a very on weak, even insultingly weak, casus belli) like Polk, McKinley, and George W Bush should also be a LOT lower, at least if you have the moral compass to consider invading another nation on false pretense just to steal their land and resources, causing deliberate death to their civilians to their cities and infrastructures, as being AT LEAST (ideally much moreso) evil than legalizing abortion or having a few extra-marital affairs. If you don't consider such evil, despicable, vile, and yes, UN-CHRISTRIAN war of aggression major mars on a leader's integrity, than I SERIOUSLY question your own moral centre...

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26 minutes ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

I think Obama has had a high morality level, as President, sure, he used to chain smoke in High School, but that's about it.

Just so you know, Obama has admitted to smoking marijuana and doing "maybe a little blow".  Not that it matters though, because many Presidents used drugs recreationally before they were in office (JFK, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush).  I personally don't question anybody's morality simply because they use drugs, but I just thought it was funny that you mentioned Obama used to chain smoke when he has actually used drugs like marijuana and cocaine. I would probably have Obama at or near the top of my morality ranking.

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4 hours ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

I think Obama has had a high morality level, as President, sure, he used to chain smoke in High School, but that's about it.

IRS scandal?

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On 12/1/2016 at 4:20 PM, ThePotatoWalrus said:

I think Obama has had a high morality level, as President, sure, he used to chain smoke in High School, but that's about it.

Obama's fast and loose use of family values more  so than any other President plummets him down.

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4 hours ago, Reagan04 said:

Obama's fast and loose use of family values more  so than any other President plummets him down.

Sure, but what he lacks in family values, he makes up for in social tolerance. But I also agree that he is a race-baiter and responsible for the gridlock in Congress.

 

On 12/1/2016 at 4:58 PM, jnewt said:

Just so you know, Obama has admitted to smoking marijuana and doing "maybe a little blow".

I don't really consider marijuana a bad thing, but I've never heard about him doing coke.

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9 minutes ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

I don't really consider marijuana a bad thing, but I've never heard about him doing coke.

Neither do I, I only mentioned it because I thought it was interesting that you mentioned he was a chain smoker, because conservatives generally think marijuana is worse than cigarettes.

here's an article that briefly mentions his drug usage before entering politics

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/24/world/americas/24iht-dems.3272493.html

 

 

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17 minutes ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

Sure, but what he lacks in family values, he makes up for in social tolerance. But I also agree that he is a race-baiter and responsible for the gridlock in Congress.

 

I don't really consider marijuana a bad thing, but I've never heard about him doing coke.

You can't blame Obama for gridlock. He deserves, at most, partial blame, since the Republicans in the Congress are doing at least half the work in blocking him, even when he's compromising. A good example of this is Merrick Garland, who is hardly a liberal judge--he's a swing judge that is highly respected on both sides of the aisle. He's compromised so much on things that he disappointed a lot of progressives. He campaigned left, and was a center-left president for most of his presidency. 

Honestly, I don't think ANY Democratic president would have prevented Republicans from taking part in gridlock. I think part of this is congressional culture inspired by the Clinton/Gingrich battles of the 1990s. Bill Clinton was a moderate Democrat and still faced gridlock. Democrats responded in kind with GW Bush, overriding many of his vetoes (more so than anyone since Andrew Johnson in the Reconstruction era). Trump will face similar gridlock if Democrats ever take control of Congress, unless he turns into a Democrat himself as president. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/3/2016 at 0:30 AM, ThePotatoWalrus said:

Sure, but what he lacks in family values, he makes up for in social tolerance. But I also agree that he is a race-baiter and responsible for the gridlock in Congress.

So-called "social tolerance" is quite a weight down the list.

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3 hours ago, Reagan04 said:

So-called "social tolerance" is quite a weight down the list.

But you haven't addressed my statement on imperialistic war mongers who only make war to steal other people's lands and resources to enrich only a few on flimsy casus bellis (Polk, McKinley, and both Bushes come to mind here strongly).

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5 hours ago, Patine said:

But you haven't addressed my statement on imperialistic war mongers who only make war to steal other people's lands and resources to enrich only a few on flimsy casus bellis (Polk, McKinley, and both Bushes come to mind here strongly).

While I agree that Bush Jr. could be described as someone who is way too much on the war side.  Bush Sr. was not that.  His Iraq invasion was actually good and had international cooperation.  He also wisely stayed out of Baghdad.

Also, the Mexicans attacked the US which started the Mexican-American War.  Polk tried to use diplomatic means to acquire his goals.  He successfully avoided war with the British over Oregon and tried to buy California from Mexico.

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On 12/13/2016 at 11:40 PM, jvikings1 said:

While I agree that Bush Jr. could be described as someone who is way too much on the war side.  Bush Sr. was not that.  His Iraq invasion was actually good and had international cooperation.  He also wisely stayed out of Baghdad.

Also, the Mexicans attacked the US which started the Mexican-American War.  Polk tried to use diplomatic means to acquire his goals.  He successfully avoided war with the British over Oregon and tried to buy California from Mexico.

I also wouldn't put Bush Sr in the same basket at Polk, McKinley, GW Bush. 

Your comment about the Mexican-American War, however, is a little misleading. Both the invasion of Mexico and the acquisition of Oregon Territory were highly controversial, one moreso than the other. The Oregon Territory put considerable risk of war with the British; however, Polk eventually bowed to a slight compromise on the borders, and both countries were glad to get it over with. Despite the nearly sending us to war with the British, I give Polk a lot of credit for this diplomatic maneuver. However, the Mexican War is another story. 

American presidents, primarily Democrats, and Democratic-Republicans, had been trying to purchase Mexican and Caribbean lands in about every administration since Jefferson. There was a sharp partisan divide over these, primarily because of slavery; although, some in New England wanted to ensure they had more influence on the country, and more states meant diluted influence. 

Polk tried to negotiate a purchase for territory of Northern Mexico, including disputed territory that both countries claimed as their own. When the purchase fell through, Polk ordered Gen. Zachary Taylor to occupy the disputed territory. Naturally (and America would have done the same thing), Mexico was provoked and fired on the force, since they believed the Americans were annexing the land by force. 12 Americans soldiers died. Most scholars believe the Polk administration purposely provoked the Mexicans to fire at them to give a cassus belli for war. The war, at the time, was called "Mr. Polk's War," since it appeared to be engineered by him, and it was favored only by the most bellicose Democrats, but gained more acceptance as Winfield Scott was scoring strings of victories, in what might be the greatest campaign ever by an American general. 

Some of Polk's men, and possibly Polk himself, wanted to annex all of Mexico (for 12 deaths over disputed land!). However, Polk was restrained, and eventually saw the wisdom of taking only the land which was eventually annexed. The funniest part of the treaty is that the Americans tried to avoid making it look like they annexed territory, so in the treaty the FORCED Mexico to accept payment for the land. 

I'm glad we have the territory, but had I lived back then, I would have been aghast at Polk's decision. Polk, to me, and many others, does belong in that McKinley and Bush II basket of unnecessary wars. America had numerous other means to occupy that territory in Northern Texas, I think Polk and his Administration saw an opportunity to acquire as much land as they wanted in one quick war. 

Polk's willingness to risk war -- Mexico (which occurred) and in Oregon -- give him a low morality ranking for me. He's somewhat raised by keeping about every campaign promise he made--he's the only president to do that. He's faulted in how he fulfilled them. 

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3 hours ago, vcczar said:

I also wouldn't put Bush Sr in the same basket at Polk, McKinley, GW Bush.

Your comment about the Mexican-American War, however, is a little misleading. Both the invasion of Mexico and the acquisition of Oregon Territory were highly controversial, one moreso than the other. The Oregon Territory put considerable risk of war with the British; however, Polk eventually bowed to a slight compromise on the borders, and both countries were glad to get it over with. Despite the nearly sending us to war with the British, I give Polk a lot of credit for this diplomatic maneuver. However, the Mexican War is another story.

American presidents, primarily Democrats, and Democratic-Republicans, had been trying to purchase Mexican and Caribbean lands in about every administration since Jefferson. There was a sharp partisan divide over these, primarily because of slavery; although, some in New England wanted to ensure they had more influence on the country, and more states meant diluted influence.

Polk tried to negotiate a purchase for territory of Northern Mexico, including disputed territory that both countries claimed as their own. When the purchase fell through, Polk ordered Gen. Zachary Taylor to occupy the disputed territory. Naturally (and America would have done the same thing), Mexico was provoked and fired on the force, since they believed the Americans were annexing the land by force. 12 Americans soldiers died. Most scholars believe the Polk administration purposely provoked the Mexicans to fire at them to give a cassus belli for war. The war, at the time, was called "Mr. Polk's War," since it appeared to be engineered by him, and it was favored only by the most bellicose Democrats, but gained more acceptance as Winfield Scott was scoring strings of victories, in what might be the greatest campaign ever by an American general.

Some of Polk's men, and possibly Polk himself, wanted to annex all of Mexico (for 12 deaths over disputed land!). However, Polk was restrained, and eventually saw the wisdom of taking only the land which was eventually annexed. The funniest part of the treaty is that the Americans tried to avoid making it look like they annexed territory, so in the treaty the FORCED Mexico to accept payment for the land.

I'm glad we have the territory, but had I lived back then, I would have been aghast at Polk's decision. Polk, to me, and many others, does belong in that McKinley and Bush II basket of unnecessary wars. America had numerous other means to occupy that territory in Northern Texas, I think Polk and his Administration saw an opportunity to acquire as much land as they wanted in one quick war.

Polk's willingness to risk war -- Mexico (which occurred) and in Oregon -- give him a low morality ranking for me. He's somewhat raised by keeping about every campaign promise he made--he's the only president to do that. He's faulted in how he fulfilled them.

That was also my understanding of Polk's actions and believed motives when I brought him up in the above list of warmonger presidents seeking flimsy causus bellis for wars only ultimately meant to size and steal resources from other sovereign nations that only, at the time, directly benefited the very rich.

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While it was controversial, the Americans were on American soil and the Mexicans attacked them.  Also, I would argue that because Polk was President, we avoided war with Britain.  Others wanted all of the territory and probably would have attacked.

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3 hours ago, jvikings1 said:

While it was controversial, the Americans were on American soil and the Mexicans attacked them.  Also, I would argue that because Polk was President, we avoided war with Britain.  Others wanted all of the territory and probably would have attacked.

The others were a small minority of mostly war-hawk Democrats--the neocons of their time. Polk, more or less, belonged to this group. The only feasible nominee that might have proved more hawkish than Polk is Lewis Cass, who was primarily a land expansionist. However, his primary reason for land expansion, similar to Stephen A. Douglas, was for railroad interests and other business interests. The boarder which was fought over was not related to these. I think, without Polk, the issue probably would not have been pressed. It certainly would not have been with the Whigs. 

As far as your Mexican War comment. The soil was disputed, so it wasn't necessarily American soil. They needed an outside mediator to settle the matter. It's possible the British, the natural mediator, would have worked against US interests because of what was going on in Oregon. Lastly, the Polk administration claimed the borders based on the Treaty of Velasco in 1836 before Texas was part of the US. This treaty was never ratified by the Mexican government, so it had no legal ground there. On top of this, the Texas government didn't comply with the treaty, which was basically acceptance that the treaty was void, probably because it required ratification from both governments. Mexico went so far as to not recognize Texas as it's own government. The land was thus disputed, and not necessarily the US or Mexico's since the border was still legally undefined, much like the Oregon Territory situation. Polk basically forced them to fight over it, and then took way more territory. 

I'm certainly glad our country acquired this land, but I'm give Polk an F on foreign policy for how he did it. I'd give him a B for the Oregon Territory. if he was able to have solved that without a threat of war, then he would have gotten an A from me. 

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1 hour ago, vcczar said:

The others were a small minority of mostly war-hawk Democrats--the neocons of their time. Polk, more or less, belonged to this group. The only feasible nominee that might have proved more hawkish than Polk is Lewis Cass, who was primarily a land expansionist. However, his primary reason for land expansion, similar to Stephen A. Douglas, was for railroad interests and other business interests. The boarder which was fought over was not related to these. I think, without Polk, the issue probably would not have been pressed. It certainly would not have been with the Whigs. 

As far as your Mexican War comment. The soil was disputed, so it wasn't necessarily American soil. They needed an outside mediator to settle the matter. It's possible the British, the natural mediator, would have worked against US interests because of what was going on in Oregon. Lastly, the Polk administration claimed the borders based on the Treaty of Velasco in 1836 before Texas was part of the US. This treaty was never ratified by the Mexican government, so it had no legal ground there. On top of this, the Texas government didn't comply with the treaty, which was basically acceptance that the treaty was void, probably because it required ratification from both governments. Mexico went so far as to not recognize Texas as it's own government. The land was thus disputed, and not necessarily the US or Mexico's since the border was still legally undefined, much like the Oregon Territory situation. Polk basically forced them to fight over it, and then took way more territory. 

I'm certainly glad our country acquired this land, but I'm give Polk an F on foreign policy for how he did it. I'd give him a B for the Oregon Territory. if he was able to have solved that without a threat of war, then he would have gotten an A from me. 

Santa Anna, who was the dictator at the time, signed the treaty with the Texans.  Plus, the entire territory of Texas was technically disputed because Mexico wanted it as part of their country.  Disputed territory does not mean that it does not belong to a country.  Look at the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island and the South Sandwich Islands.

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@JohnnyK

I really do recommend you take a look at your google chrome plugins. Instead of "Soetoro's" it should say "Obama's". Somehow you have accidentally changed another quote. I am just reminding you that there are people who will take offense to it and it may be against some forum rules to change what is written in a quote, even unintentionally. 

Z.png

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16 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Santa Anna, who was the dictator at the time, signed the treaty with the Texans.  Plus, the entire territory of Texas was technically disputed because Mexico wanted it as part of their country.  Disputed territory does not mean that it does not belong to a country.  Look at the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island and the South Sandwich Islands.

Santa Anna was not as solidly an absolute, iron-gripped, popular dictator as American history seems to make him out to be. He still Constitutionally required the approval of the Mexican Congress to enact laws and ratify treaties. While he did indeed stack the Mexican Congress through heavy-handed means with his supporters, they still, despite that fact (and much to Santa Anna's surprise and rage) made a legislative revolt and REFUSED to ratify the Treaty of Velasco, which he only signed (and the Mexican lawmakers were well aware of this fact) as a condition of being released from being a POW of the Texan Republican Militia. Thus, though usually running the country as a corrupt despot, the underhanded and strong-armed method he relied on to get his desires through the Mexican Congress failed, and thus the treaty, by Mexican Constitutional law, was killed, and the independence of Texas was not formally or legally recognized by Mexico.

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7 minutes ago, JohnnyK said:

You are not making any sense

Let me rewrite the message, but place forward slashes and periods in between the name that your chrome extension is changing. This should allow you to see that your browser is changing the actual name of our current U.S. President, which was what was actually written by the original poster, with the name of his half brother. 

@JohnnyK

I really do recommend you take a look at your google chrome plugins. Instead of "Soetoro's" it should say "/./O/./b//a/./m/./a/./'s". Somehow you have accidentally changed another quote. I am just reminding you that there are people who will take offense to it and it may be against some forum rules to change what is written in a quote, even unintentionally. 

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11 minutes ago, CalebsParadox said:

@JohnnyK

I really do recommend you take a look at your google chrome plugins. Instead of "Soetoro's" it should say "Obama's". Somehow you have accidentally changed another quote. I am just reminding you that there are people who will take offense to it and it may be against some forum rules to change what is written in a quote, even unintentionally.

Z.png

Although I have him blocked and can't see his original posts, I can see the screenshots your pointing out here and on the Michigan results thread, and given his other posts, and the reasons I've blocked him, I'm not surprised at all and fully this is deliberate and pre-meditated, though he'll likely plead ignorance or have some lame, insulting-to-the-intelligence excuse or justification as to why the ToS shouldn't apply to him.

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3 hours ago, JohnnyK said:

I see. I will look at it, I was being politically incorrect and I apologize, I wouldn't want to trigger any sensitive anonymous users.

No. You weren't just being politically incorrect; you were being incorrect. 

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3 hours ago, jvikings1 said:

Santa Anna, who was the dictator at the time, signed the treaty with the Texans.  Plus, the entire territory of Texas was technically disputed because Mexico wanted it as part of their country.  Disputed territory does not mean that it does not belong to a country.  Look at the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island and the South Sandwich Islands.

Your analogies you mentions at the bottom of this message don't apply to the Texas Mexico situation. As @Patine stated, Santa Ana was not an absolute dictator, he still had to work with his congress. On top of this, he wasn't truly a dictator until the 1840s, which was after the Treaty of 1836, which aimed to settle boundaries between the Republic of Texas and Mexico. The area was legally a no-man's land. I looked more into this, and part of this dispute rested on that the Mexican government kicked Santa Ana out of office prior to his signing the Treaty of Velasco. Since there was a new government, Mexico didn't recognize the 1836 treaty since their legal head of state didn't sign it. Part of that treaty also stipulated that Santa Ana would be transported safely to Mexico, but the Americans kept him captive once they learned he wasn't the head of state anymore. 

So the clear fact is that it was clearly disputed land. Texas had a claim to it, but it wasn't yet legal to make it valid. The US would have inherited that same claim. Mexico probably had a slightly stronger claim since Texas had to extend its border through the treaty, which proved to be invalid. Additionally, the fact that America kept trying to purchase the land after 1836 also shows that the US didn't legally own it, and it sort of implies that Mexico still did. I'd really like to read more about this. 

All I'm trying to say is that it wasn't as clear cut, and the blame wasn't solely on the Mexicans. It was a muddy situation and Polk took the most aggressive stance. a Warhawk would find his method favorable, and someone that isn't, wouldn't. I think both Americans and Mexicans sincerely believed the land was theirs. The best method would have been to have let the citizens of that territory vote on their status, but I doubt anyone thought of doing that. I'm not sure what the demographic was, but it was probably mostly Mexicans rather than American settlers. I think if Polk had been the Mexican president, he would have also have refused to sell the territory, and I think he would have also fired on US troops occupying that territory.  

I was born, raised and I live in Texas (about 15 min from the capital building). They have a lot of Texas history resources there that I've looked through. I'm going to head there again when I have more time. 

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