James Knox Polk
James K. Polk, the 11th president of the United States, was born on November 2, 1975 on a small town in Mecklenburg Country in North Carolina. He was the eldest child of Jane and Samuel Polk. His father was an owner of a successful farm in the Maury country. Their family gained thousands of acres of land and over 50 slaves.
At his young age James’ family moved to Tennessee where he studied at home because of his ill health conditions. James Polk managed to have good education; he passed the entrance requirements for entering the University of Carolina and graduated with honors in his graduating class of 1818. James studied law in Nashville and was admitted to bar in 1812.
The Dark Horse
James Polk, under the Democratic Party heartily won the election on the November 5, 1844 and became the 11th president of the United States. James was named “Dark Horse” after the election because he was not expected to win over his rival, Henry Clay of the Whig Party.
California Gold Rush
During the term of former President James Polk, gold was discovered in California on January 24, 1848. It was James W. Marshall who unexpectedly discovered gold while taking a look at the construction of sawmill in the American River. Thousands of people traveled to California to try picking up nuggets of gold in the river; many had their luck but most of them came home without anything.
Sarah Polk, an educated and highly influential person and is the first lady of former President James Polk. She forbids dancing and playing of cards in the Whitehouse. They were married on January 1, 1824 but they never had a child.
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican-American war was signed on February 2, 1848 at the city of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico. United States of America agreed to pay $15 million to Mexico for the claimed territories including California, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, and parts of Arizona which was over 55% of Mexico’s territory.
The Oregon Country
Under President James Polk, United States government sent a proposal to Britain to set the American-British boundary into the 49th parallel, but the British government rejected the offer. Both sides didn’t want war to solve the issue. British Government saw the importance of its relation with United States and signed the treaty after the Mexican-American war.
President James Polk added vast land territory to United States more than any other Presidents. Over a million square miles of lands were acquired including America’s present states, thus making tension between the North and South over a new issue, slavery.
President Polk’s Death
President Polk left the Whitehouse in February 1849. He died on June 15, 1894 four months after he resigned at the age of 53. He died at his home which was known as “Polk Place” in Nashville, Tennessee. This place served as a neutral ground in the Civil War and in the Battle of Nashville.
The Mexican-American war was mainly driven by the belief that the United States has a God-given right to civilize and conquer the whole continent, also known as “Manifest Destiny”. This belief was carried by former President James Polk and offer to buy much of the land from the Mexican Government. Mexico did not like to give their land to the Americans which caused increased tension between both sides. The war began on April 25, 1846 and lasts more than a year with the victory of United States.