James K. Polk


James Knox Polk was the eleventh President of the United States and served from 1845 – 1849. He instituted "Hail to the Chief" and he also hosted the first Thanksgiving in the White House.

He was referring to by many as “The first Dark Horse”, because of his strong leader skills, and of his democratic values. He was born to Samuel and Jane Knox Polk on November 2, 1795 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.James had 5 brothers named Franklin, Marshall, John, William and Samuel and 4 sisters, Jane, Lydia, Nacmilate and Ophelia.

He went to school at the University of North Carolina.He never missed a class in college. On January 1, 1824, he married Sarah Childress Polk.

Before he was president, Polk was a lawyer, a Congressman and the 11th governor of Tennessee from October 14, 1835 - October 15, 1841. He was the 17th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from December 7, 1835 - March 4, 1839. His first act in politics was when he served in the Tennessee legislature, and befriended Andrew Jackson. He was a strong public speaker, so it was not surprising for him to be state representative for Tennessee and the governor of Tennessee, all before he became president. He had hoped to be Vice President at the Democratic convention, beginning on May 27, 1844.

He was known for his foreign policy, and was able to trick enemies into defeat. While he was president, Polk offered Spain $100 million for Cuba, but Spain turned down the office. He led the successful Mexican-American War. He expanded the territory of the U.S. He also signed the Walker Tariff that brought an era of near free trade to the country until 1864.He has been the only president who did not seek re-election.

On June 15, 1849, three months after his term ended, Polk died of Cholera. James Knox Polk was a very interesting president.