CHAPTER XXV. MORE TERRITORY ACQUIRED
 James K. Polk was born in North Carolina in 1795, but went with his parents to Tennessee in 1806, where in 1823 he became a member of the legislature. From 1824 to 1839 he was a member of Congress, and in 1839 was elected governor of Tennessee. Polk was the first presidential "dark horse"; that is, the first candidate whose nomination was unexpected and a surprise. In the Democratic national convention at Baltimore the contest was at first between Van Buren and Cass. Polk's name did not appear till the eighth ballot; on the ninth the convention "stampeded" and Polk received every vote. When the news was spread over the country by means of railroads and stagecoaches, many people would not believe it till confirmed by the newspapers. The Whigs nominated Henry Clay; and the Liberty party, James G. Birney. Tyler also was renominated by his friends, but withdrew.
 Read Whittier's Texas.
 In the course of the fight a son of Henry Clay was killed, and Jefferson Davis, afterward President of the Confederate States of America, was wounded. At one stage of the battle Lieutenant Crittenden was sent to demand the surrender of a Mexican force that had been cut off; but the Mexican officer in command sent him blindfolded to Santa Anna. Crittenden thereupon demanded the surrender of the entire Mexican army, and when told that Taylor must surrender in an hour or have his army destroyed, replied, "General Taylor never surrenders." Read Whittier's Angels of Buena Vista.
 The war was bitterly opposed by the antislavery people of the North as an attempt to gain more slave territory. Numbers of pamphlets were written against it. Lincoln, then a member of Congress, introduced resolutions asking the President to state on what spot on American soil blood had been shed by Mexican troops, and James Russell Lowell wrote his famous Biglow Papers.
 Five years later (1853), by another treaty with Mexico, negotiated by James Gadsden, we acquired a comparatively small tract south of the Gila, called the Gadsden Purchase (compare maps, pp. 330, 352). The price was $10,000,000. The purchase was made largely because Congress was then considering the building of a railroad to the Pacific, and because the route likely to be chosen went south of the Gila.
 As early as 1846 the North attempted to decide the question in favor of freedom. Polk had asked for $2,000,000 with which to settle the boundary dispute with Mexico, and when the bill to appropriate the money was before the House, David Wilmot moved to add the proviso that all territory bought with it should be free soil. The House passed the Wilmot Proviso, but the Senate did not; so the bill failed. The following year (1847) a bill to give Polk $3,000,000 was introduced, and again the proviso was added by the House and rejected by the Senate. Then the House gave way, and passed the bill; but the acquisition of California and New Mexico by treaty left the question still unsettled.
 Their platform declared: (1) that Congress has no more power to make a slave than to make a king; (2) that there must be "free soil for a free people"; (3) that there must be "no more slave states, no more slave territories"; (4) that "we inscribe on our banner, 'Free soil, free speech, free labor, and freemen.'"
 The Liberty party nominated John P. Hale of New Hampshire, but he withdrew in favor of Van Buren. The Liberty party was thus merged in the Free-soil party, and so disappeared from politics. The Democratic candidates for President and Vice-President were Lewis Cass and William O. Butler.
 Zachary Taylor was born in Virginia in 1784, was taken to Louisville, Kentucky, while still a child, and grew up there. In 1808 he entered the United States army as a lieutenant, and by 1810 had risen to be a captain. For a valiant defense of Fort Harrison on the Wabash, he was made a major. He further distinguished himself in the Black Hawk and Seminole wars. In the Mexican War General Taylor was a great favorite with his men, who called him in admiration "Old Rough and Ready." Before 1848 he had taken very little interest in politics. He was nominated because of his record as a military hero.
 Millard Fillmore was born in central New York in 1800, and at fourteen was apprenticed to a trade, but studied law at odd times, and practiced law at Buffalo. He served three terms in the state assembly, was four times elected to Congress, and was once the Whig candidate for governor. In 1848 he was nominated for the vice presidency as a strong Whig likely to carry New York.
 Laborers left the fields, tradesmen the shops, and seamen deserted their ships as soon as they entered port. One California newspaper suspended its issue because editor, typesetters, and printer's devil had gone to the gold fields. In June the Star stopped for a like reason, and California was without a newspaper. Some men made $5000, $10,000, and $15,000 in a few days. California life in the early times is described in Kirk Munroe's Golden Days of '49, and in Bret Harte's Luck of Roaring Camp and Tales of the Argonauts.
 Those who crossed the plains suffered terribly, and for many years the wrecks of their wagons, the bones of their oxen and horses, and the graves of many of the men were to be seen along the route. This route was from Independence in Missouri, up the Platte River, over the South Pass, past Great Salt Lake, and so to "the diggings."