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Polk, JAMES KNOX, eleventh President of the United States; from 1845 to 1849; Democrat; born in Mecklenburg county, N. C., Nov. 2, 1795. His ancestral name was Pollock, and he was of Scotch-Irish descent. He graduated at the University of North Carolina in 1818; admitted to the bar in 1820. Three years afterwards he was a member of the legislature of Tennessee and was sent a delegate to Congress in 1825, where he was a conspicuous opponent of the administration of John Quincy Adams. He was speaker of the House of Representatives from 1835 to 1837, and in 1839, having served fourteen-years in Congress, he declined a re-election. He was a candidate for the Vice-Presidency in 1840, but was defeated. In 1844 the Democratic National Convention at Baltimore nominated him for the Presidency, chiefly because he was strongly in favor of the annexation of Texas, a favorite measure of the

President James Polk

President James Polk

Southern politicians, and he was elected, his opponents being Henry Clay and James G. Birney (see CABINET, PRESIDENT'S). During his administration, the most important event was a war with Mexico from 1846 to 1848. The other chief events of his administration were the establishment of an independent treasury system, the enactment of a low tariff system, and the creation of the Department of the Interior. Three months after he retired from office, he was seized with illness and died in Nashville, Tenn., June 15, 1849.

 

 

 

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