Polk, James K.

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  • James K. Polk (1795–1849), the eleventh president of the United States, pursued a policy of expansion. Polk's desire to fulfill Manifest Destiny, the belief that the United States was destined by God to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, dominated his term (1845–49) in office. In great part due to his efforts, the United States gained a tremendous amount of territory in the Northwest, Southwest, and West.

    James Knox Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, on November 2, 1795. Polk graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina in 1818. After college, he studied law, passed the bar, became a lawyer, and entered politics. Polk had been born into a slaveholding family; consequently, slavery permeated his cultural beliefs. He owned slaves ...

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