|Oil on canvas, Rebecca Polk after G.P.A. Healy, 1911, Collection of U.S. House of Representatives|
POLK, James Knox, (brother of William Hawkins Polk),
a Representative from Tennessee and 11th President of the United
States; born near Little Sugar Creek, Mecklenburg County, N.C., November 2,
1795; moved to Tennessee in 1806 with his parents, who settled in what later
became Maury County; attended the common schools and was tutored privately;
graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1818; studied
law; admitted to the bar in 1820 and commenced practice in Columbia, Tenn.;
chief clerk of the state senate 1821-1823; member of the state house of
representatives 1823-1825; elected as a Jacksonian to the Nineteenth through
the Twenty-fourth Congresses and reelected as a Democrat to the Twenty-fifth
Congress (March 4, 1825-March 3, 1839); chairman, Committee on Ways and Means
(Twenty-third Congress); Speaker of the House of Representatives (Twenty-fourth
and Twenty-fifth Congresses); did not seek renomination in 1838 having become a
candidate for governor; governor of Tennessee 1839-1841; elected as a Democrat
as President of the United States in 1844; inaugurated on March 4, 1845, and
served until March 3, 1849; declined to be a candidate for renomination; died
in Nashville, Tenn., June 15, 1849; interment within the grounds of the state
BibliographyMerry, Robert W.
A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the
Conquest of the American Continent. New York: Simon & Schuster,
2009; Borneman, Walter R.
Polk: The Man Who Tranformed the Presidency and America. New
York: Random House, 2008.