The life of James K. Polk
James Knox Polk
Place of birth and date:
Pineville, North Carolina
November 2, 1795
Mother- Jane Polk
Father- Samuel Polk
Had a younger brother and two younger sisters.
His schooling had been minimal at a young age, in large part because of his poor health. In time, his chronic abdominal pains had been diagnosed as urinary stones. James’ father sent him to Philadelphia in the fall of 1812, to receive care from Dr. Philip Syng, later titled “The Father of American Surgery.” After having critical surgery, Polk turned down an opportunity in the mercantile business to get a proper education. In January 1816, following his twentieth birthday, he was accepted to the University of North Carolina as a second semester sophomore, after attending a nearby Presbyterian Academy. Polk married Sarah Childress on January 1, 1824.
James and his wife Sarah never had children.
Was of the Democratic Party.
Elected to Tennessee House of Representatives in 1823
Elected to the U.S House of Representatives on August 4, 1825 Attended first session of congress on December 5, 1825
Reelected to second term in the U.S House of Representatives in 1827 Appointed to house Committee on Foreign Affairs in 1827
Reelected to third term in U.S House of representatives in 1829 Reelected to fourth term in U.S House of Representatives in 1831 Reelected to fifth term in U.S House of Representatives in 1833 Reelected to sixth term in U.S House of Representatives in 1835 Reelected to seventh term in U.S House of Representatives in 1837 Elected Governor of Tennessee on August 1, 1839
Elected President of the United States, November 1844
Life after Presidency:
In 1848, Polk retired after his first term staying true to his word that he would not seek for reelection in 1848, even though he could have been elected for a second term. Polk decided to embark on a tour of the southern states. Going along the Atlantic seaboard, along the Gulf states, and finally up the Mississippi River to his final destination of Tennessee. After his tour, Polk moved to his newly purchased estate in Nashville. This is where he spent his final weeks, named “Polk Place.” Polk became seriously ill shortly after ending his tour. It is believed that he got cholera, which had broken out in New Orleans during his time there. James K. Polk died on June 15, 1849. His final request was that Sarah, his wife, would free their slaves upon her death, along with leaving most of his estate to her. Pictures:
Major Policy Issues:
Polk’s presidential agenda largely consisted of foreign policy considerations, like territorial expansion and foreign trade. (Oregon)- During Polk’s 1844 campaign, he promised to settle the boundary of the Oregon territory with Britain. Both Great Britain and the U.S had occupied the region since 1818. After a complicated compromise, Polk agreed to a boundary at the 49th parallel, giving the U.S modern day Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. (Annexation of Texas)- Texas became the fifteenth state of the United States in December 1845. When Texas moved its militia into the territory west of Nueces River, and taking claim to the Rio Grande as a southern border. As a response, Mexico broke off diplomatic relations with the U.S. (War with Mexico)- in April 1864, Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande and killed eleven U.S soldiers. Polk requested a declaration of war from Congress, while using the argument that the Mexicans “had shed the blood of our fellow citizens on our soil.” By May 13, 1846, it was official that both nations were at war. Within seven months the United States army completely defeated the Mexican army on its soil. By 1847, America had Mexico’s capitol in its hands. President Polk sent Nicholas Trist to negotiate the terms of Mexico’s surrender. On February 2, 1848, Trist signed the...
Cited: The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, n.d. Web. 6 Dec.
Paulus, John W. “The Legacy of James Polk.” Helium. Helium, 28 Feb.
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