Polk, James (Administration)

James K. Polk, the 11th president of the United States, was born November 2, 1795, in North Carolina. Polk was a Democrat with an extensive political history that included serving as Speaker of the House of Representatives (1835–39) and governor of Tennessee. As a leader of Jacksonian Democracy in the period 1828–54, Polk’s unexpected candidacy for president helped forge the assessment that Polk was the last of the strong pre–Civil War presidents. Polk’s strengths were not only in domestic affairs but also in foreign policy, specifically in relations with Mexico and Britain.

Polk’s political aspirations did not stop at the governorship of Tennessee. He envisioned himself as the Democratic vice presidential nominee. Polk did not seek political office during the election of 1844. His disinterest in ...

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