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James Polk (1795)close

James Polk, was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Polk graduated with honors in 1818 from the University of North Carolina. As a young lawyer, he served in the Tennessee legislature and was elected to seven terms in Congress. He became Speaker of the House at the age of 40 and was elected governor of Tennessee four years later.
At the Democratic Convention in 1844, supporters of Marin Van Buren counted on Polk as the vice-presidential candidate. But Van Buren lost the support of the South when he opposed the annexation of Texas. Polk quickly became the Party's choice for president and he won the election against Republican Henry Clay, becoming the eleventh president of the United States in 1845.
After a series of disputes over boundaries in the Southwest, President Polk declared war against Mexico in 1846. As a result, a vast area of land was added to the United States. But despite his success, the acquisition of this land started a bitter quarrel between the North and the South over the expansion of slavery.
Polk served only one term as president and left the White House in March of 1849. He died in Nashville, on June 15, 1849, at the age of 53.

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