Presidential Campaign

In February 1844, Smith announced his intentions to run for President of the United States. This seemingly outlandish proposition was not out of step for the times. Jackson’s presidency opened the floodgates for independent parties and commoners to throw their hats into the race. Smith felt confident in his chances to win, even declaring it as God’s will. Among his many platforms, Smith campaigned on the biggest questions of the day: whether Oregon and the Republic of Texas should be annexed to the United States, both of which Smith supported. Although slavery was not the largest issue of the 1844 campaign season, it was a popular topic of discussion. Smith proposed a five-year plan that would abolish slavery without decimating the South’s economy by compensating former slave owners; following which, the freed slaves would be granted passage through Texas where they could establish an independent republic in Northern Mexico. Neither of these platforms (compensated emancipation and colonization) were unusual solutions to propose at this time.