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James K. Polk

In Office: 1845 - 1849

James K. Polk (1795-1849)

James Know Polk was born in North Caroline in 1795. Influenced by his very liberal father and grandfather he also became a liberal and followed Thomas Jefferson’s tradition as a convinced Democrat. In 1821 he functioned as a writer in the house of assembly in Tennessee-. Polk studied mathematics and ancient languages but later switched over to law school. Polk political career started off very well for he was the spokesperson for the House of Representatives and the governor of Tennessee.

In 1845 Polk was nominated for president as candidate of the Democratic Party. Combining all different democratic opinions very well he won the election and became the 10th President of the United States of America.

Supporting the so called “Manifest Destiny” he was convinced that it was the American duty to civilize the entire American continent. Polk was a skilled politician and soon gained more states to turn them into US territory. In the Oregon-Fight with Great Britain he achieved to enlarge the US territory by two thirds. At the same time this caused inner political conflicts which later would result in the Civil War.

During his presidency the U.S. Naval Academy, the Smithsonian Institute and the Washington Monument were founded and set in place.  He also introduced the first stamp of the United States. Polk was the first president who refused to be elected for a second ministry.

Having suffered from heath problems during his presidency Polk died only three month after having retired from the position.

"With me it is exceptionally true that the Presidency is no bed of roses." (James Knox Polk) 

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