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Meet Amazing Americans U.S. Presidents James Polk
Polk's inaugural address, in his own handwriting
Polk's inaugural address, in his own handwriting

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The First "Dark Horse" Presidential Candidate

In horse racing, a "dark horse" is a horse that wins a race when no one expects it to.

As the surprise Democratic nominee, Polk was first "dark horse" candidate for the presidency. News of his nomination was spread to Washington by the first Morse telegraph line, which was only a few days old at the time.

Many people couldn't believe the news report delivered by this new technology. Polk ended up winning the election by the closest margin in history. Because of his "dark horse" status, Polk was determined to prove himself by becoming one of the most productive presidents ever.

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