James K. Polk

Most Popular

Birth Sign

Not only was James Knox Polk the 11th President of the United States of America, but he was also the youngest president in history. Today, he is recognized as a man of impeccable character who, true to his promise, resigned after serving only one presidential term, despite the fact that he might easily have won reelection had popular opinion been on his side. He was instrumental in exponentially expanding America’s borders; in fact, he contributed about a million square miles to them. The territories incorporated by James K. Polk included Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, as well as a major portion of New Mexico and portions of Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado. He was a staunch believer in the concept of “Manifest Destiny,” according to which the United States was predestined to spread its republican ideology and system across the continent of North America. James K. Polk accomplished all of the goals and objectives he set for himself before to obtaining the presidency. To learn more about this exceptional statesman and leader, read his biography.

Table of Contents

Childhood & Adolescence

His father, Samuel Polk, was a prosperous farmer and slaveholder of Scottish-Irish ancestry, whereas his mother, Jane Polk, was a descendant of Scottish religious reformer “John Knox.”Polk was homeschooled as a child due to a variety of health difficulties. In 1812, he was forced to undergo surgery to have his urinary stones removed.He was admitted to the Zion Church near his house in July 1813 and transferred a year later to Murfreesboro, where he excelled as a student.

Later that year, in 1816, he transferred to the University of North Carolina, where he graduated with honors in 1818.
Following graduation, he served as an apprentice to Felix Grundy, a well-known Nashville trial attorney.He was admitted to the law in 1820 and established a prosperous practice, as debt-related litigation had expanded exponentially following the Panic of 1819.

Career of James

His political career began in 1823, when he was elected to the Tennessee assembly, where he got acquainted with Andrew Jackson.Polk was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1825 and served as speaker from 1835 to 1839.He resigned from Congress in 1839 to become governor of Tennessee.Polk was considered the frontrunner for the Democratic ticket’s Vice President position in the 1844 presidential elections, while Martin Van Buren was considered their presidential candidate.

During these elections, when neither the Democratic nor the Whig presidential candidates pursued an expansionist agenda, Polk took a definite position in favour of it.Polk gained Andrew Jackson’s backing for his uncompromising stance, and as a result, he was able to secure the Democratic presidential nomination by a razor-thin margin.He easily won the popular vote, and in the Electoral College, he received 170 votes, compared to 105 for his Whig Party opponent Henry Clay of Kentucky.

On March 4, 1845, he became the country’s youngest President at the age of 49.As soon as he assumed the presidency, he set about achieving his goals; the first step was signing the statute that reinstated the Independent Treasury System in 1846.On August 3, 1846, he vetoed the Congress-passed Rivers and Harbors Bill.

He exerted pressure on Great Britain to resolve the Oregon territory’s ownership dispute and was successful in getting the Oregon Treaty of 1846 signed. According to which, Oregon was partitioned between the two nations along the 49th parallel.Polk, in his proposal to Congress on May 11, 1846, requested their approval for an invasion of Mexico, which he got from an overwhelming majority of senators.

Mexico surrendered and signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, which was ratified by Polk.He established the Department of the Interior in March 1849 as one of his final presidential acts.His term as President of the United States expired on March 4, 1849, and he did not seek a second term, as he had pledged.

Personal History and Legacies

He married Sarah Childress, a well-educated Tennessee woman. At the time of their marriage, she was twenty years old and Polk was twenty-eight. They were childless.He died on June 15, 1849, at the age of 53, at Polk Place in Nashville, Tennessee, just three months after resigning from the president. He is suspected to have contracted cholera during his southern goodwill tour.The United States Postal Service issued multiple stamps honoring Polk, the most recent of which was issued in 1995 on the bicentennial of Polk’s birth.

His likeness was included on the Presidential $1 Coin Program coin launched on February 7, 2009.Polk was a popular president, and several counties in various states across America bear his name. Apart from that, he is also the namesake of a city in Florida and another in Iowa.Numerous educational institutions have also been named after him, including Virginia’s James K. Polk Elementary School and the University of North Carolina’s Polk Place.

Estimated Net Worth

James is one of the wealthiest US Presidents and ranks high on the list of most popular US Presidents. James K. Polk’s net worth is estimated to be at $1.5 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


His body was laid to rest on the grounds of Polk Place, and he stated that his final dying words were for his wife “Sarah, I adore you. I will adore you forever.”His retirement was the shortest of any President of the United States of America. It was only 103 days long.At his inauguration ball, dancing and music were halted due to his wife’s religious convictions, and the fun resumed only when the presidential pair left.Bernard De Voto, a renowned historian, described him as “his thought was stiff, restricted, unyielding, and far from first-rate.” However, he understood how to get things done, which is the first requirement of government, and he understood what he desired, which is the second.”