In 1844, the Democrats were split
The three nominees for the presidential candidate
Were Martin Van Buren, a former president and an abolitionist
James Buchanan, a moderate
Louis Cass, a general and expansionist
From Nashville came a dark horse riding up
He was James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump

Austere, severe, he held few people dear
His oratory filled his foes with fear
The factions soon agreed
He's just the man we need
To bring about victory
Fulfill our manifest destiny
And annex the land the Mexicans command
And when the votes were cast the winner was
Mister James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump

In four short years he met his every goal
He seized the whole southwest from Mexico
Made sure the tariffs fell
And made the English sell the Oregon territory
He built an independent treasury
Having done all this he sought no second term
But precious few have mourned the passing of
Mister James K. Polk, our eleventh president
Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump

Lyrics submitted by Spacecow

James K. Polk Lyrics as written by John Linnell John Flansburgh

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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James K. Polk song meanings
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  • +1
    General Comment

    This song (and a few other TMBG songs) actually helped me remeber a few of the less-noteworthy presidents back in American Government class.

    imjustabillon June 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    There was an error in the original version of the song. They pronounced Oregon as OryGONE, (its supposed to be more like origun). Yeah, luckily they realized the error of their ways, lol. Note: I live in Oregon, and every time they play it, we all cheer at that line. Yeah, we're weird, heh.

    edwarticaon January 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Darn, I wanted to talk about the mispronunciation of Oregon. And yes, it is fun to yell when they do it right, lol. We oregonians are silly.

    edwarticaon May 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I don't think this song means much to me except what it says. The family story says that we are related to President Polk, so I really like listening to this one. The Johns have most of the facts right here, except there were more nominees in 1844. Other than that, it's a fun, educational song. I plan to play it in my classes when I start teaching.

    LittleBriddieon March 05, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Darn that democrat!


    PS, anyone who's been to the TMBG website should know what i'm talking about.

    Rodan2000on December 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Ive been to the tmbg website, and i dont know what your talking about

    awsomo3000on June 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    "And made the English sell the Oregon territory"

    This is the only major error. England, or rather at this Great Britain, did not sell the Oregon Territory.

    Now for an error in the lyrics posted here:

    The song is "James K. Polk", not "James K Polk"....

    ebowtheletteron March 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I love this song, but the best part is Julian Koster (of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Music Tapes) playing musical saw.

    TelevisionTellsUson March 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    James K Polk is freakin' amazing! Van Buren was such a push-over as a president...the man did absolutely nothing except declare his hatred for the national banks.

    Zenpeanuton November 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    A lot of TMBG's songs do, I think, have deep meanings, but I also like that a few times (definitely with this and "Istanbul") they seem to just take some event that interests them and write a song about it. Very straightforward and entertaining.

    reubencoon November 29, 2011   Link

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