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Napoleon of the Stump - James PolkGet Rating Widget!

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Broodinghen (12)
05/03/2007

Of course the vigorous oratory of young Polk was a sufficient reason for calling him "Napoleon of the Stump", but there might have been a physical resemblance to the French Emperor that went beyond a certain lack of tallness.

The original dark horse President left the stage as a sad-faced, tight-lipped bag of bones with "flowing gray locks" and thus he was remembered. Yet he earned his nickname as a young man. It's not impossible that, at first sight, a younger Polk with a different hair-style looked like the spitting image of Napoleon, as he also had deep-set grey eyes, a rather long nose, and arched lips.

Young Polk might even have looked rather well-fed, like Napoleon, as long as he held no public office and was relatively free of care. Reading Polk's diary, which contains countless mentionings of meals, gave me the notion that he relished the joys of the table all his life, and had a sound appreciation of food that appealed to his tastes. It was said that he loved Tennessee ham and hickory nut cake. So why should he not have looked a bit chubby as long as he lived at home and got enough of the stuff?

Later, when he married a thin girl things began to look different ...


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