James Polk
11th President of the United States

(1845 - 1849)
Vice President: George M. Dallas
  President Polk and his Cabinet  
  Sarah Childress Polk James K. Polk

President: James Polk

Wife: Sarah Childress (1803-1891), on January 1, 1824

Kids: None

Pets: A horse

Bio: James Knox Polk, (1795-1849), was the 11th President Of The United States. Born on a farm in Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, on Nov. 2, 1795, he was the oldest of ten children. James' great-uncle Thomas Polk was the most prominent leader in the community. His maternal grandfather was James Knox, a Revolutionary War hero. He attended the University of North Carolina, and graduated at the head of his class in 1818. He was admitted to the bar in 1820. On Jan. 1, 1824, he married Sarah Childress. They never had children.

In 1825, Polk entered the U.S. House Of Representatives, holding his seat in Congress for 14 years with only occasional challenges. When his good friend and political ally Andrew Jackson was elected to president in 1828, Polk became a prominent administration spokesman in the House and gained more recognition in Washington. He was elected as Speaker of the House in 1835, and went on to run for and win the election for governor of Tennessee.

Although he was then defeated twice while running for successive terms, he was still a strong candidate for president in the campaign of 1844. Whether to annex Texas or not was the defining issue of this campaign. Polk supported the annexation and as it turned out so did the voting public. He won with 170 electoral votes to 105 for his opponent, Clay. He became one of the strongest and most successful presidents of the 19th century. Polk supported legislation to reduce tariffs substantially and restored the independent treasury system.

Major accomplishments included winning a war with Mexico, which allowed the US to annex New Mexico and California. In December 1848, Polk announced that gold had been discovered there.

By the end of his term, Polk was exhausted from the tremendous amount of work he did, and settled into retirement in Nashville Three months after leaving office, he became ill and died on June 15, 1849.

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