James K. Polk

By: Connor Taft

Basic Information

  • James Knox Polk
  • Democrat
  • 11th President
  • Presidency Years: 1845-1849
  • Vice President: George M. Dallas


  • Birth Date: November 2, 1795
  • Birth Place: Pineville, North Carolina
  • He was the oldest of 10 children in his family
  • He was very sick when he was younger and he survived a major operation for urinary stones. This was done before modern methods of getting rid of the pain so he just took a shot of brandy.
  • Graduated with honors in 1818 from the University of North Carolina.


  • He served in the Tennessee legislature where he became good friends with Andrew Jackson.
  • He then went to the United States House of Representatives in 1825 to 1839 as the speaker of the House.
  • Right after he left his congressional post he became the governor of Tennessee.


  • His goals as the President were to cut tariffs, reestablish an independent U.S. treasury, secure the Oregon territory and acquire the territories of California and New Mexico from Mexico.
  • He succeeded with all of those goals and more. He was also the President that extended the territories from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
  • Completed the annexation of Texas, which became the 28th state.
  • The annexation though lead to the Mexican-American War for two years which lead to a U.S. victory.
  • By the end of the war the U.S. also gained the land that makes up current day California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
  • With the Oregon Treaty it also lead to the full control of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and parts of Montana and Wyoming.