James K. Polk

Eleventh President 1845-1849


Born: November 2, 1795 at Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

Education: Graduated from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill).

Occupation: Lawyer, politician.

Religion: Presbyterian.

Family life: Married Sarah Childress in 1824. They had no children.

Political career: United States representative from Tennessee, 1825-39; Speaker of the House, 1835-39. Governor of Tennessee, 1839-41; returned to Washington; nominated in 1844 as a "dark horse" candidate.

Highligths of his presidency: Went to war with Mexico over territorial acquisitions. Gained California and New Mexico.

Appearance: Small sharp featured, with white hair worn long.

Died: June 15, 1849, only three months after retirement to their fine new home "Polk Place" in Nashville, he died, worn out by years of public service. Clad always in black, Sarah Polk lived on in that home for 42 years, guarding the memory of her husband and accepting honors paid to her as honors due to him. The house became a place of pilgrimage.

Buried: Tennessee State Capitol building grounds in Nashville, Tennessee, a chamber under which are buried President Polk and his wife.


  • Polks Home
  • 200 Candles and a Postage Stamp
  • Inaugural Address
  • Grolier Biography
  • Britannica Biography




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