Miller Center

American President

James K. Polk (1795–1849)

Portrait of James K. Polk

Facts at a Glance

11th President of the United States (1845–1849)
November 2, 1795, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
“Young Hickory”
Full Name
James Knox Polk
University of North Carolina (graduated 1818)
January 1, 1824, to Sarah Childress (1803–1891)
Political Party
The Diary of James K. Polk (4 vols., 1910), ed. by Milo M. Quaife; Correspondence of James K. Polk, 12 vols. (1969– )
June 15, 1849, Nashville, Tennessee
State Capitol Grounds, Nashville, Tennessee
A Life in Brief
Under James Knox Polk, the United States grew by more than a million square miles, adding territory that now composes the states of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, much of New Mexico, and portions of Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado. More »

Essays on James K. Polk and His Administration

James Knox Polk
A Life in Brief
Life Before the Presidency
Campaigns and Elections
Domestic Affairs
Foreign Affairs
Life After the Presidency
Family Life
The American Franchise
Impact and Legacy
Key Events
First Lady
Sarah Polk
Vice President
George M. Dallas (1845–1849)
Secretary of State
James Buchanan (1845–1849)
Secretary of War
William L. Marcy (1845–1849)
Postmaster General
Cave Johnson (1845–1849)
Secretary of the Treasury
Robert J. Walker (1845–1849)
Attorney General
John Y. Mason (1845–1846)
Nathan Clifford (1846–1848)
Isaac Toucey (1848–1849)
Secretary of the Navy
George Bancroft (1845–1846)
John Y. Mason (1846–1849)

Consulting Editor: John C. Pinheiro

Professor Pinheiro is an associate professor of history and director of Catholic Studies at Aquinas College. He formerly served as a research assistant on the Correspondence of James K. Polk project at the University of Tennessee and as an assistant editor of The Papers of George Washington at the University of Virginia. His writings include:

Missionaries of Republicanism: A Religious History of the Mexican-American War (Oxford University Press, forthcoming, April 2014)

"James K. Polk as War President," in Joel Silbey, ed., A Companion to the Antebellum Presidents, 1837-1861 (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014)

Manifest Ambition: James K. Polk and Civil-Military Relations during the Mexican War (Praeger Security International, 2007)

The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, Vol. 12 (Co-Editor, University of Virginia Press, 2005)