James K. Polk made no secret during the campaign of 1844… of his desire to annex Texas. It was what the Texans wanted and expansionists demanded. John Tyler bowed to political pressure from Whigs after they defeated the first treaty and failed to act on annexation. Only the swell of support from Polk’s fiery rhetoric forced the lame duck administration to act.
Polk would have acted without Congressional approval… but he made it clear in his inaugural address that this was a momentous occasion for all involved, ” I shall on the broad principle which formed the basis and produced the adoption of our Constitution, and not in any narrow spirit of sectional policy, endeavor by all constitutional, honorable, and appropriate means to consummate the expressed will of the people and Government of the United States by the reannexation of Texas to our Union at the earliest practicable period.”
Polk was not content to stop with Texas… he was a true expansionist and believed in Manifest Destiny, ” Nor will it become in a less degree my duty to assert and maintain by all constitutional means the right of the United States to that portion of our territory which lies beyond the Rocky Mountains” The country was expanding and Polk was willing to use the power of the Presidency to make it happen.
“To us belongs the duty of protecting them adequately wherever they may be upon our soil. The jurisdiction of our laws and the benefits of our republican institutions should be extended over them in the distant regions which they have selected for their homes. The increasing facilities of intercourse will easily bring the States, of which the formation in that part of our territory cannot be long-delayed, within the sphere of our federative Union” James K. Polk