Freelance by Jen

Consider me the No More Tangles of your writing needs.

“I blew it” is probably not what James K. Polk told himself!

Guys. I’ve been gone for awhile, but once you find out what I’ve learned, I think you’ll totally forgive me.

FIRST of all, not to get too juicy right off the bat, I decided I needed to learn something while I’m on furlough, and that something turned out to be “more about every U.S. President.”

And guys? Wow. I hope you’re sitting, and definitely get buckled in, because we’re going on a hot goss TRIP.

First, before anyone makes some crazy assumption that this is about George Washington, IT’S NOT. Everything you need to know about George Washington can be found right here anyway, so let’s take a respectful moment after watching that video to honor the first U.S. President who was also a stepdad (let us not forget, by the way, that Martha Washington was a hip lady).

Nay, this is about that crazy one-two punch of James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor, who fall in numbers 11 and 12 on the presidential sequential lineup, but are fast moving up the sequential lineup of my heart.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Jamie P, as I call him, was a little bit of an unknown, but it’s not like news traveled fast back then. Whigs be like, “Who’s James K. Polk?” (that was their actual anti-Polk campaign slogan), but as it turned out, James K. Polk be a VISIONARY.

James K. Polk has often, at least in the single book page I read about him and also in the White House Dot Gov article I read, been called a bit of a “dark horse.” If “dark horse” means gotta get that laaaaaaand, then yes, he certainly WAS a dark horse! This guy just wanted to form a more perfectly large union, and that union included California, New Mexico, and Oregon. But Jamie K to the P., as I call him, also didn’t really wanna fight about it, so that whole Oregon push of claiming the entire area from the California boundary northward to a latitude of 54’40’, the southern boundary of Russian Alaska seemed a bit much. Extremists proclaimed “Fifty-four forty or fight,” a rally cry that some of you may very vaguely remember from class without being able to assign it to anything in particular, but Polky, as I call him, was like “or how about Fifty-four forty or fight OR…hear me out…neither?” because the guy definitely didn’t wanna do war about it with Britain. It felt a little too close to dredge THAT all up again, you know?

Anyway but he did totally sass it up with the British a bit and kicked up a nice little share of fluff when they said not EVEN to the compromise of the 49th parallel, so then they were like, fine, even, so he got it.

That’s all a super long-winded way of telling you about the guy he sent to deal with the California situation. Remember learning about how there used to not be cars or planes? Well, this was then. So he sent this guy a realllly long way to check out the stats on California and New Mexico country, specifically this hot spot on the Rio Grande border.

This guy was no Polk, I can promise you that. Polk’s like, let’s chat about this. This guy was like, nope, let’s fight about this. I ain’t got time for talk, and I ain’t got time for politics, while we’re at it.

This guy had spent 20 years both making sure there were no issues with the Indians, but he was a bit of a mystery in that he also hated slavery. A bit ahead of his time in that fashion, but here we are.

And that man’s name was, omg you’re gonna freak….ZACHARY TAYLOR. GENERAL Zachary Taylor, thank you very much.

I could type all day about this, and probably will, but for the purposes of THIS little gossip rag, will cut it short.

As you might imagine, expanding the hell out of the country in a time during which the country was young and brash and spoiling for a fight can take a lot out of a man. While Jimmy KP, as I call him, got us swoll with gainz, he also got us swoll with gainz of North-South angst. It hurt him, and he left office super stressed both physically and mentally. His health suffered swiftly, and he died a few months later.

But General Zachary Taylor was all, hey, I got this. You know what? I’ll be president, and I’ll fight about getting that stuff you were talking about earlier, but like, in very specific ways.

They called him “Old Rough and Ready.” His appearance has been described as “disheveled.” That obviously already makes me love him, but also? Also? He like, REALLY hated slavery. The guy he ran against, Cass, was like, hey. Hey. How about what we do is let each state decide if it wants slavery? And ZT, as I call him, was like, HOW ABOUT YOU LOSE THE ELECTION TO ME?

And Cass did.

Wow, I’ve been talking for awhile. There’s plenty more hot goss, no need to drop it all TODAY.

Back to present day for a moment:

Movie of the day: The entire Back to the Future trilogy, Netflix. Good thing Marty and Doc didn’t end up in 2020, amirite?

Show of the day: Amazing Race, Hulu. My son had never seen this show, and there are like, 29 seasons on Hulu, so we watched a bunch. It’s so emotional and stressful and great. Also, I have no sense of direction.

Song of the Day: Forever for Her (Is Over for Me), The White Stripes. I love it. I’ve loved it for, like, 15 years? More? Awhile. And I’m listening to it right now, which made this easy.

Podcast of the Day: Dolly Parton’s America. Hunter and Shelby told me about this, and I’m so glad they did.

Tree of the day: birch. I love the little peely bark! So unique!

*Presidential picture thanks to The Antiques Navigator

2 thoughts on “Freelance Friday’s Hot Goss, 1845-1850

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