Born on November 2, 1795 He was the oldest of 10 children His father prospered with his career in farming and owned thousands of acres of land, plus fifty slaves. His mother, Jane, helped take care of the house. She took care of her children under the strict Presbyterian "gospel of duty." His siblings were William, Samuel, Namoi, Lydia, Marshall, Ophelia, Jane, John, and Franklin. Most of his education was spent at his home.
Polk was homeschooled and did not have a formal education until he went to the Presbyterian school outside of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He went to the university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1816 to 1818 and graduated with honors . He studied law under Felix Grundy who was U.S. Senator and attorney general. He passed the state bar exam in 1820.8m n7uy6h
Polk was apart of the the democratic party, during his term from March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849. This party was mostly based on using sponsorship extensively to finance their operations, which included emerging big city political machines and national networks of newspapers. After Polk's time as governor, Polk emerged as a replacement candidate to Martin Van Buren. Polk ran against Henry Clay, founder of the Whig party. His view of expanding Texas appealed to many voters. He also promised to retire as president after one term.
Polk served 4 years in office and was the 11th president. Polk made huge impacts in office. He successfully gained ownership of California, Nevada and Utah, and parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming through the Mexican- American War. Him, being from the South, lowered the tariffs to benefit the Southern plantations. He also established a new federal depository system to distribute government documents to libraries and established the Department of the Interior to manage federal land.
Impact and Legacy
James Polk's Inaugural Address is one of his most well known speeches. It describes the merits of reclaiming Texas and reflecting upon the growth of the nation. After hearing U.S. citizens being killed on American soil by Mexicans, he announced war on Mexico. After America defeated Mexico, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo authorized U.S. payment of $15 million for California and New Mexico. In order to avoid Brittan from expanding its claims on Central America and the Caribbean, he created a treaty, signed by U.S. Minister Benjamin A. Bidlack, conveyed to the U.S. the right of way across the Isthmus of Panama.