11th President of the United States
(March 4, 1845 to March 3, 1849)
Full Name: James Knox Polk
Nickname: "Young Hickory"
Born: November 2, 1795, in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
Died: June 15, 1849, in Nashville, Tennessee
Father: Samuel Polk
Mother: Jane Knox Polk
Married: Sarah Childress (1803-1891), on January 1, 1824
Education: Graduated from the University of North Carolina (1818)
Political Party: Democrat
Other Government Positions:
- Member of Tennessee House of Representatives, 1823-25
- Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1825-39
- Speaker of the House, 1835-39
- Governor of Tennessee, 1839-41
Presidential Salary: $25,000/year
Vice President: George M. Dallas (1845-1849)
- Secretary of State
- James Buchanan (1845-1849)
- Secretary of the Treasury
- Robert J. Walker (1845-1849)
- Secretary of War
- William L. Marcy (1845-1849)
- Attorney General
- John Y. Mason (1845-46)
Nathan Clifford (1846-48)
Isaac Toucey (1848-49)
- Postmaster General
- Cave Johnson (1845-1849)
- Secretary of the Navy
- George Bancroft (1845-46)
John Y. Mason (1846-49)
- A large crack in the Liberty Bell proves too large to permit the bell to be rung any more.
- Dispute with Britain over the Oregon Territory settled. Both nations get a part of the territory.
- Treaty of 1848 with Mexico gave the U.S. control over California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and parts of Colorado and Wyoming.
- Gold discovered in California in December.
- James K. Polk -- from The Presidents of the United States of America
- Compiled by the White House.
- James Polk -- from The American President
- From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.
- James Knox Polk -- from People in THE WEST
- Based on the documentary THE WEST by Ken Burns and Stephen Ives, this biographical sketch focuses on Polk's role in expanding the U.S. borders westward.
- James K. Polk -- from the North Carolina Encyclopedia
- A text-rich biography on this North Carolina native.
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Other Internet Resources:
Points of Interest:
- A week before he died, Polk was baptized a Methodist.
- Gaslights were installed in the White House while Polk was a resident.
- Polk survived a gallstone operation at age 17 without anethesia or antiseptics. Those medical practices were not used at the time.
- The first annual White House Thanksgiving dinner was hosted by Sarah Polk.
- Sarah Polk was a devout Presbyterian. She banned dancing, card-playing and alcoholic beverages in the White House.
- News of Polk's nomination was widely disseminated using the telegraph. The first time his had been done.