James Polk (1795)
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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This page presents short biographies of more than 200 famous Americans drawn from our unit, "The 50 States." These personalities are arranged by theme.
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|Gutzon Borglum||Walt Disney||Jabez Gorham|
|Matt Groening||William Hanna||Marsden Hartley|
|Winslow Homer||Peter Hurd||Hank Ketcham|
|Bill Mauldin||Jackson Pollock||Howard Pyle|
|Norman Rockwell||Charles Schulz||Gilbert Stuart|
|Frank Lloyd Wright||Andrew Wyeth|
|Phineas Taylor "P.T." Barnum||Clyde Barrow||John Wilkes Booth|
|Butch Cassidy||William "Buffalo Bill" Cody||Davy Crockett|
|Jesse James||Evel Knievel||Harland David "Colonel" Sanders|
|Jefferson R. "Soapy" Smith|
|Benny Benson||Sitting Bull||Cesar Chavez|
|John Dewey||Geronimo||Crazy Horse|
|Jesse Jackson||Chief Joseph||Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|Queen Lydia Liliuokalani||Russell Means||Osceola|
|Elizabeth Peratrovich||Sacagawea||Chief Washakie|
|Booker T. Washington||Jack Wilson Wovoka|
Pioneers and "Firsts":
Politicians & Activists:
|Hank Aaron||Andre Agassi||Danny Ainge|
|Johnny Bench||Yogi Berra||Paul "Bear" Bryant|
|Dale Earnhart||Lou Gehrig||Eric Heiden|
|Michael Jordan||Evel Knievel||Phil Knight|
|Joe Reddington||Mary Lou Retton||Picabo Street|
|Jesse Ventura||Jerry West|
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