James K. Polk

By Andrew Butterfield

General Overview

  • 11th President of the United States
  • Native of North Carolina
  • Democrat
  • Mexican-American War, led to the Annexation of Texas
  • Oversaw the Founding of the Smithsonian Institution
  • Ran with four major points:
  1. Reduce Tariffs
  2. Acquire some or all of New Mexico and California from Mexico.
  3. Reestablish the Independent Treasury System
  4. Acquire some or all of Oregon Country.
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Biography I

James K. Polk was born on November 2, 1795 in Pineville, North Carolina. He was the eldest child in a house of 10. His father was a slaveholder, and his mother stayed home to care for all of the children. Polk was home schooled, and had a plethora of health issues that effected him as a child. One operation may have rendered him sterile, as he had no children during his lifetime. Polk died at age 53 on June 15, 1849, three months after leaving office.

Biography II

Prior to becoming the President of the United States, Polk was a member of the house of representatives, eventually becoming the 17th Speaker of the House. He served in the House for around 15 years, before going on to be the governor of Tennessee until 1841, when he did not win reelection.. He ran for the presidency in 1845, and was elected that year.

Biography III

James K. Polk served one term as president, from 1845 to 1849. He is known as the last strong president prior to the civil war breaking up the states. In his campaign, he outlined four major points to accomplish over his presidency:

  1. Reduce Tariffs
  2. Acquire some or all of New Mexico and California from Mexico.
  3. Reestablish the Independent Treasury System
  4. Acquire some or all of Oregon Country.

During his singular term, he accomplished all of that. He reduced tariffs through lowering some of the Whig-set tariffs from before and establishing lower ones of his own, and by restoring the Independent Treasury System. He contested Mexico through the Mexican-American war, and was able to lay claim to New Mexico and California as a result. Finally, he was able to compromise with Great Britain, under the phrase "54-40 or Fight!", which democrats used to rally their support for gaining Oregon. In addition, Polk also was president when Texas urged the US to annex it.

Biography IV

Polk did not live too long after he finished his presidency. He has the shortest post-term retirement of any president, even up to this day: 103 days. He died in his home, Polk Place, in Tennessee.
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3 Major Achievements & Blunders

Achievements:
1. Oregon.

2. Lower Tariffs.

3. New Mexico and California.


Blunders:

1. Pro-Slavery

Nothing else really, Polk was president for a short time, and really did everything according to popular opinion and logically for his own motives.

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Campaign Slogans

54-40 or Fight!

Reannexation of Texas and Reoccupation of Oregon

Is he electable today?

I would say yes. He seems like the type of person who gets things done, and that is probably what we need today. Some issues require a strong president to urge congress to do the right thing, and I think Polk would be a good person to do just that.