James K. Polk

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James K. Polk
11th President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
Vice PresidentGeorge Dallas
Preceded byJohn Tyler
Succeeded byZachary Taylor
9th Governor of Tennessee
In office
October 14, 1839 – October 15, 1841
Preceded byNewton Cannon
Succeeded byJames Jones
17th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
December 7, 1835 – March 4, 1839
PresidentAndrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
Preceded byJohn Bell
Succeeded byRobert Hunter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 9th district
In office
March 4, 1833 – March 4, 1839
Preceded byWilliam Fitzgerald
Succeeded byHarvey Watterson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1833
Preceded byJohn Cocke
Succeeded byBalie Peyton
Personal details
James Knox Polk

(1795-11-02)November 2, 1795
Pineville, North Carolina, U.S.
DiedJune 15, 1849(1849-06-15) (aged 53)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Resting placeTennessee State Capitol
Nashville, Tennessee
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Sarah Childress
Alma materUniversity of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
SignatureCursive signature in ink

James Knox Polk (November 2, 1795 – June 15, 1849) was the eleventh President of the United States. His term was from March 4, 1845 to March 3, 1849. He died 103 days after leaving office and has the shortest retirement of any president.[1]

Early life[change | change source]

Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He went to the University of North Carolina.

Presidency[change | change source]

Polk was sworn in on March 4, 1845. He is the first president elected under the age of 50.

Polk is respected by historians because he made four promises during his presidential campaign and accomplished all of them.

He signed legislation which made the Smithsonian Institution.

He promised to lower tariffs (taxes on foreign trades) and he did that.

He promised to make the U.S. government its own bank so it did not have to put its money in other banks. He did that.

He intimidated England into allowing the United States to have the Oregon Territory (the north-western United States) just like he promised.

He promised he would make Texas part of the United States. He declared war on Mexico and led the country through the Mexican-American War.

During his presidency, the U.S. gained a lot of land.

He is the only President to have been Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

He promised to serve only a single term. He did not run for re-election as President and did not serve a second term.

Later life[change | change source]

On January 1, 1824, Sarah Childress Polk, aged 20, married James Polk, aged 28, at the plantation home of the bride's parents near Murfreesboro. They had no children, but raised a nephew as if it were their own child.

Death[change | change source]

Polk died on June 15, 1849 in Nashville, Tennessee from cholera. He was only in retirement for three months. Polk was buried at Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville, Tennessee.

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]