James K. Polk (1795 – 1849) [cite this] More images » 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, an… more life in brief » Essays about James K. Polk Life in Brief 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 than any other President, Polk pu… Life Before the Presidency Life Before the Presidency: James K. Polk's Scots-Irish ancestors settled in the United States in the 1720s, first in Pennsylvania, and then moving to North Carolina and finally to Tennessee. Both his grandfathers had fought in the Revolutionary War. Born in 1795, James lived the first ten years of his life in rural No… Campaigns and Elections Campaigns and Elections: The Campaign and Election of 1844: When Democrats gathered in Baltimore, Maryland, in May 1844, none could have foreseen the eventual outcome. Former President Martin Van Buren came to Baltimore with a clear majority of delegates pledged to him on the first ballot, but many Democrats opposed the Ne…Domestic Affairs Domestic Affairs: James K. Polk's agenda, unlike that of his two immediate predecessors, was largely driven by foreign policy considerations, namely, territorial expansion and foreign trade. Each of these, however, promised profound domestic consequences, the former in terms of the slavery question and the latter…Foreign Affairs Foreign Affairs: During James K. Polk's presidency, foreign policy revolved around the U.S. desire for additional territory in North America. Even before the Revolutionary War, Americans had looked westward, and in the early years of the republic the United States had expanded its borders toward and then beyond …Life After the Presidency Life After the Presidency: True to his word, in 1848 Polk reiterated his intention to retire at the end of his single term, although he could easily have been nominated for a second term. He confided in his diary that he felt "exceedingly relieved" to be free from public duty. Unfortunately, he was able to enjoy les…Family Life Family Life: Although Polk was a religious man, his faith seldom equaled the stern beliefs of Sarah's outspoken devotion. Raised a Presbyterian, Polk had never been baptized due to a family argument with the local Presbyterian minister in rural North Carolina. At age thirty-eight, Polk experienced a reli…The American Franchise The American Franchise: In 1844, the U.S. population reached 19.6 million people, an increase from 1840 of nearly 2.4 million people. Amazingly, four years later, the national population increased another 2 million, reaching 22 million (a 13-percent increase). Four new states came into the union between the time of Pol…Impact and Legacy Impact and Legacy: Depending on whom one reads, Polk comes across as either a nearly great President or as a man who missed great opportunities. Clearly, his impact was significant. Polk accomplished nearly everything that he said he wanted to accomplish as President and everything he had promised in his party's p… About His Administration First Lady Sarah Polk Vice President George M. Dallas (1845–1849) Secretary of State James Buchanan (1845–1849) Attorney General Isaac Toucey (1848–1849) Nathan Clifford (1846–1848) John Y. Mason (1845–1846) Postmaster General Cave Johnson (1845–1849) Secretary of the Treasury Robert J. Walker (1845–1849) Secretary of the Navy John Y. Mason (1846–1849) George Bancroft (1845–1846) Secretary of War William L. Marcy (1845–1849) Facts about James K. Polk Term: 11th President of the United States (1845 – 1849) Born: November 2, 1795, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Political Party: Democrat Died: June 15, 1849 Nickname: “Young Hickory” Education: University of North Carolina (graduated 1818) Religion: Presbyterian Marriage: January 1, 1824, to Sarah Childress (1803–1891) Children: None Career: Lawyer Buried: State Capitol Grounds, Nashville, Tennessee WritingsThe Diary of James K. Polk (4 vols., 1910), ed. by Milo M. Quaife; Correspondence of James K. Polk, 10 vols. (1969– ) James K. Polk Image Gallery More images » Citation Information 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) Zachary Taylor » « John Tyler American President has changed! Click here to take a short survey and tell us what you think!