We are pleased to announce that our 176th Annual Membership Meeting will be presented both in person and virtually, Wednesday, May 29, 2024, 5:00 pm CT/6:00 pm ET.

The in-person meeting will be held at Fort Negley, 1100 Fort Negley Boulevard, Nashville, Tennessee 37203. Following our business meeting, Dr. Mark Cheathem will speak on “Who Is James K. Polk? The Presidential Election of 1844.”

In 1844, Tennessean James K. Polk was not unknown, but was a highly unlikely presidential candidate given the availability of better-known options. Among the Democrats, this included Martin Van Buren, John C. Calhoun, and James Buchanan. Among the Whigs, Henry Clay was the clear frontrunner. Complicating the election were three other candidates: President John Tyler, a man without a party; Joseph Smith, the self-described prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the first presidential candidate to be assassinated; and James G. Birney, head of the antislavery Liberty ticket. On top of this remarkable cast of characters, the stakes of the election were high as the United States was undergoing a tumultuous political transition.

James K. Polk’s ascension to the White House over more notable politicians was a pivotal moment in propelling the United States towards civil war, and the 1844 election expanded the vigorous campaigning that had been growing since 1824.

Speaker Dr. Mark Cheathem is a professor of history at Cumberland University, where he also serves as project director of the Papers of Martin Van Buren. He is the author or editor of nine books, including the award-winning books Andrew Jackson, Southerner and The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson. His most recent publication is Who Is James K. Polk? The Presidential Election of 1844, which was a finalist for the 2023 Tennessee History Book Award.


May 29, 2024


5:00 pm CT

6:00 pm ET


Click here to sign up for tickets to watch the meeting virtually.



Click here to sign up for tickets to attend the in-person event.