The lights are on
Power Member - Level 8
Click here to learn more about our points system.
James Knox Polk (pronounced /ˈpoʊk/ POKE) (November 2, 1795 – June 15, 1849) was the 11thPresident of the United States (1845–1849). Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He later lived in and represented the state of Tennessee. A Democrat, Polk served as Speaker of the HouseGovernor of Tennessee (1839–1841) before becoming president. (1835–1839) andA firm supporter of Andrew Jackson, Polk was the last strong pre-Civil War president. Polk is noted for his foreign policy successes. He threatened war with Britain then backed away and split the ownership of the Northwest with Britain. He is more famous for leading the nation into the Mexican–American War, in which the US was victorious. He lowered the tariff and established a treasury system that lasted until 1913.As a Democrat committed to geographic expansion (or Manifest Destiny), he overrode Whig objections and achieved the second-largest expansion of the nation's territory. Polk secured the Oregon TerritoryWashington, Oregon and Idaho), amounting to about 285,000 square miles (738,000 km²). Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican–American War in 1848, the US purchased 525,000 square miles (1,360,000 km²) of territory in the Southwest and California. (includingThe expansion reopened a furious national debate over allowing slavery in the new territories. The controversy was inadequately arbitrated by the Compromise of 1850, and finally found its ultimate resolution on the battlefields of the U.S. Civil War. Polk signed the Walker Tariff that brought an era of nearly free trade to the country until 1861. He oversaw the opening of the U.S. Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institution, the groundbreaking for the Washington Monument, and the issuance of the first postage stamps in the United States, introduced by his Postmaster General Cave Johnson.Being satisfied with the accomplishments of his term, he decided to retire and not seek re-election. He died of cholera three months after his term ended. Scholars have ranked him favorably on the list of greatest presidents for his ability to set an agenda and achieve all of it.