How long was james k polk president

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how long was james k polk president

James K. Polk by John Seigenthaler

The story of a pivotal president who watched over our westward expansion and solidified the dream of Jacksonian democracy

James K. Polk was a shrewd and decisive commander in chief, the youngest president elected to guide the still-young nation, who served as Speaker of the House and governor of Tennessee before taking office in 1845. Considered a natural successor to Andrew Jackson, Young Hickory miraculously revived his floundering political career by riding a wave of public sentiment in favor of annexing the Republic of Texas to the Union.
Shortly after his inauguration, he settled the disputed Oregon boundary and by 1846 had declared war on Mexico in hopes of annexing California. The considerably smaller American army never lost a battle. At home, however, Polk suffered a political firestorm of antiwar attacks from many fronts. Despite his tremendous accomplishments, he left office an extremely unpopular man, on whom stress had taken such a physical toll that he died within three months of departing Washington. Fellow Tennessean John Seigenthaler traces the life of this president who, as Truman noted, said what he intended to do and did it.
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President Polk's body might get moved

James K. Polk

Test your knowledge of the 11th U. President and learn Polk trivia with our Online Quiz. The career of the eleventh U. Although young Polk was accustomed to the rigors of frontier life, he lacked physical stamina. Shortly before his seventeenth birthday, he needed surgery for stones in his urinary bladder. The successful operation, performed by noted Kentucky surgeon Ephraim McDowell, enabled Polk to pursue an education with renewed enthusiasm.

He previously was Speaker of the House of Representatives — and governor of Tennessee — Polk is chiefly known for extending the territory of the United States during the Mexican—American War ; during his presidency, the United States expanded significantly with the annexation of the Republic of Texas , the Oregon Territory , and the Mexican Cession following the American victory in the Mexican—American War. After building a successful law practice in Tennessee , Polk was elected to the state legislature and then to the United States House of Representatives in , becoming a strong supporter of Andrew Jackson. After serving as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee , he became Speaker in , the only president to have been Speaker. Polk left Congress to run for governor; he won in , but lost in and

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O'Sullivan, to express the conviction that Providence had foreordained the United States to spread its republican institutions across North America. He accomplished every major goal that he set for himself as President and in the process successfully waged war against Mexico, obtaining for the United States most of its present boundaries as a nation., James K.

On May 13, , President James K. Polk signed a declaration of war against Mexico. Polk had submitted his war message to Congress on May 11 after General Zachary Taylor and his troops had clashed with Mexican forces on the northern bank of the Rio Grande, and Congress quickly approved the declaration of war against Mexico. After the President signed the declaration, he and his cabinet decided to conduct a three-pronged war: General Taylor would secure northern Mexico, an army under Stephen Kearny would capture New Mexico and California, and a third force under the command of Winfield Scott would capture Mexico City. Kearny headed west and found New Mexico abandoned by Mexican forces. He then moved to California, capturing Los Angeles in January

The presidency of James K. Polk began on March 4, , when James K. Polk was inaugurated as President of the United States , and ended on March 4, He was a Democrat , and assumed office after defeating Whig Henry Clay in the presidential election. Polk left office after one term, fulfilling a campaign pledge he made in , and he was succeeded by Whig Zachary Taylor. A close ally of Andrew Jackson , Polk's presidency reflected his adherence to the ideals of Jacksonian democracy and manifest destiny. Polk is often considered the last strong pre- Civil War president, having met during his four years in office every major domestic and foreign policy goal set during his campaign and the transition to his administration.

He was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, in Studious and industrious, Polk was graduated with honors in from the University of North Carolina. As a young lawyer he entered politics, served in the Tennessee legislature, and became a friend of Andrew Jackson. He served as Speaker between and , leaving to become Governor of Tennessee. Both Martin Van Buren, who had been expected to win the Democratic nomination for President, and Henry Clay, who was to be the Whig nominee, tried to take the expansionist issue out of the campaign by declaring themselves opposed to the annexation of Texas. Democrats replied Polk was the candidate who stood for expansion.


  1. Christine L. says:

    Often referred to as the first “dark horse” President, James K. Polk was the last of they bequeathed Polk the possibility of war with Mexico, which soon severed.

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