James K. Polk
By Megan

James K. Polk had accomplished many things in his lifetime. He was born on a farm in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina on November 2, 1795 and was the eldest of 10 children. In 1806 he and his family moved to Tennessee. His first formal schooling was in Columbia, Tennessee. In 1815 he entered the University of North Carolina and graduated with honors in 1818. After he had graduated, he returned to Tennessee to study law and became a lawyer.

James married Sarah Childress on January 1, 1824. Her family was very wealthy and owned a farm. When they were married, Polk was 28 and Sarah was 20. Andrew Jackson encouraged them to get married because he thought they would be a perfect couple. Because of Sarah's religious faith, she banned drinking and dancing in the White House.

When James was almost 30, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. He served as Speaker of the House and governor of Tennessee before he was nominated. Here he worked for the election of Andrew Jackson as president. When Jackson was elected president, Polk became leader of his supporters in the house.

Polk was a democrat. The democrats nominated Polk for president because he wanted Texas to be re-annexed. This is because the democrats believed that Texas belonged to the United States. Polk had won the election because almost everyone wanted Texas to be re-annexed and that's what he was going to do.

As president, he had many accomplishments. He sent General Zachary Taylor and his troops to go down and fight in the Mexican War. The Mexican War started on May 11,1846. Within a year, the Mexican War was over. We had gained California and the Southwest. After the war, Polk had finally realized that California was open to sailors in the Pacific Ocean. In 1849 the Gold Rush started. San Francisco, Monterey and San Diego grew rapidly. Thousands of people came because they wanted all the riches that was there.

On June 15, 1849, during the Gold Rush, Polk died. He became ill with cholera, three months after he retired. He was 53 years old when he died.

 

Pocantico Hills School | Presidents' Page | Home

email us at:
lgarrido@pocanticohills.org
dlebenson@pocanticohills.org
thongell@pocanticohills.org