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On this day the ninth President of the United States David ("Davy") Crockett (pictured) was born in Greene County, Tennessee, close to the Nolichucky River and near the community of Limestone.
At the time of his birth, however, the surrounding area was part of the autonomous territory known as the State of Franklin. He was named after his paternal grandfather, who was killed in 1777 at his home near today's Rogersville, Tennessee, by Indians led by Dragging Canoe. Crockett's father was one of the Overmountain Men who fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain during the American Revolutionary War.
Between 1811 and 1813 Crockett fought under General Andrew Jackson in the Creek War. After years as a Democratic Jacksonian, Crockett broke ties with Jackson in 1828 and became a Whig for the remainder of his political career. Ironically for a man so accustomed to death, Crockett was to witness President Jackson's assassination at the hands of Richard Lawrence in 1935.
Hero of the successful battle of Texican forces at the Alamo, Crockett returned to Tennessee and American politics in 1838 by winning the governorship of his home state. The Whigs nominated him for president in 1840, but he lost by a narrow margin to Martin Van Buren, who was widely considered one of the worst presidents America has ever elected.
Crockett was nominated again in 1844, and this time he won on a platform of small government asking voters to: "'Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have".
During his second term that principle would be pushed to the breaking point by his fellow Whigs. Seeking to expand the Union westwards at the expense of Mexico and Great Britain, those expansionist forces were about to push those two belligerent nations into a powerful alliance.