Profession: 11th US President
Political Party: Democratic
Political Titles: Governor of Tennessee, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Why Famous: Polk served as Governor of Tennessee and served as the 11th President of the United States (1845 to 1849). He was essentially a compromise candidate between the various Congressional factions, and is considered by historians to be the last strong pre-Civil War president, in part because he achieved every domestic and foreign goal set out during his presidential campaign.
His presidency was dominated by his foreign policy successes. He threatened war with Britain over the issue of which nation owned the Oregon Country, then backed away and split the ownership of the region with Britain.
When Mexico rejected the American annexation of Texas, Polk led the nation to a sweeping victory in the Mexican-American War, which gave the United States most of its present Southwest. In addition he agreed the Oregon Treaty with Britain, settling disputes in the Pacific Northwest.
In domestic policies he reduced tariffs and re-established the Independent Treasury. Polk pledged not to stand for a second term, and died from cholera three months after his retirement in 1849.
- 1824-01-01 US President James Knox Polk (28) weds Sarah Childress (20) in Murfreesboro
- 1844-12-04 James Knox Polk elected 11th US President
- 1845-03-04 James K. Polk inaugurated as 11th US President
- 1845-12-02 US President James K. Polk announces to Congress that the United States should aggressively expand into the West, a widely held belief termed "manifest destiny" by newspaper editor John O'Sullivan
- 1848-12-05 US President James K. Polk triggers Gold Rush of 1849 by confirming a gold discovery in California
- 1849-02-14 In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes first serving US President to have his photograph taken (by Matthew Brady).