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James K. Polk

By Brittany Antonacci March 13, 2020 0 comments

Born on November 2, 1975 in Pineville North Carolina to a family of Scottish/ Irish farmers—James K. Polk persevered through his life to make it all the way to the top. Throughout Polk’s childhood he suffered from frail health and had to go through operations to make him stronger. Despite his disadvantages, Polk was able to receive a proper education and even had the opportunity to go to college at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating with high honors, Polk decided to study law and through his success he was elected clerk of the Tennessee State Senate for two consecutive terms until he was admitted to the Tennessee bar. Following this he opened his very own practice and worked as a lawyer for quite some time before he decided to make the ultimate leap into politics.

When first diving into the world of politics, Polk served as a Tennessee legislator, and through hard work was appointed to colonel on the staff of Governor William Caroll. One major thing Polk was known for early on in politics was the opposition of the Adams administration, which inadvertently led him to being one of the main campaign advisors for President Jackson. Through his devout leadership skills and success on the Jackson campaign, it was only natural that Polk became the speaker of the House of Representatives—which gave him the opportunity to speak on his new and innovative political ideas. After gaining quite a lot of popularity amongst the state, he was elected Tennessee State Governor which is where he was able to regulate state banks, implement internal improvements, and improving education. After serving as governor and successfully implementing new policies, Polk announced his candidacy in 1845. Plus, thorough newly discovered communication technologies like the telegraph, Polk was able to get his name out their and run a very successful campaign trail. James K. Polk won the presidency with 170 electoral college votes.

Polk was inaugurated on March 4, 1845 and immediately got to work on all his campaign promises to re-establish the independent treasury system, reduce tariffs, acquire some/ all of Oregon country, and acquire California and its harbors from Mexico. Within his land expansion endeavors he got the annexation of Texas come to fruition—making it the 28th state to enter the union. Plus, he was able to successfully lead the nation through the Mexican-American War and gain a ton of land in the Mexican Cession. However, that was not in on the land expansion endeavors as Polk got parts of Oregon by implementing the Oregon Treaty. But that’s not all, Polk did what every citizen wanted and no president before him was able to do quite right—Tariff Reductions.

 After serving as president, Polk decided to retire and remain primarily inactive in politics. Unfortunately, Polk died shortly after leaving office from cholera at the age of 53. James K. Polk was one of the most influential U.S. presidents and through land expansion and economical success—he certainly changed our nation for the better.


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