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. He served only served one term as president.

Early life[change | change source]

James Knox Polk was born on November 2nd, 1795 in Pineville, North Carolina. His parents were Samuel Polk and Jane Gracey Polk. James’ father was an American surveyor, slave owner, planter, and businessman. It is unknown of what his mother did for sure, but we think she was just a simple housewife. He was very sickly as a child, so he did not do much farm work. He had surgery at 17 years old to remove urinary bladder stones, but anesthesia had not been invented yet, so he was awake the entire procedure! The doctor didn’t even give him painkillers, he just strapped James down!  Back then it was a miracle that he survived, because doctors did not use very clean tools. He was in a debate club in collage. James K. Polk studied law under a leading Nashville Attorney and as an adult worked as a lawyer and a statesperson. He married Sarah Childress on January 1, 1824 and they had no children together. His family was very excited when he decided to run for president.  

Presidency[change | change source]

James Knox Polk was nominated by the Democratic party and was elected as our 11th president. He was inaugurated on Tuesday, March 4, 1845 and George M. Dallas was sworn in as the vice president. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney swore in the president. During James’ 4 years in office, he accomplished many things. One event was reestablishment of the Independent Treasury System. Another important act was the reduction of tariffs. Polk also gained Oregon territory to the 49th parallel. The most important accomplishment of James K. Polk was westward expansion. He acquired more than 800,000 square miles of western territory. James K. Polk acquired this throughout the Mexican American War. He was influenced by Andrew Jackson. James supported Jackson’s plan to dismantle the Bank of United States and replace it with a decentralized government banking system. James accomplished his 4 major goals throughout his presidency.

Later life[change | change source]

James K Polk became a private citizen at the end of his 4 years in office. He and his wife decided to move to their Nashville home in Nashville, Tennessee because they wanted to retire and live a quiet life. Instead of directly returning to Tennessee, the Polks decided to tour the Southern states. Along the way he gave many speeches to the public. Within two weeks, James’ health suffered from the strains of travel. As the trip continued, the Polks were often forced to stop along the way to allow James to rest. The rest did not help. After arriving at their Nashville home, James Polk again fell ill and complained of horrible stomach pains.  This time James had a serious disease called cholera. At the age of 53, James Knox Polk died on June 15, 1849. On his deathbed James asked his wife to free their slaves when she died. Sarah lived 42 more years and the Civil War freed their slaves long before she died. He was first buried at the Nashville City Cemetery then moved to his Nashville home but was later moved to the Tennessee state capitol after his Nashville home was later sold.  

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]