Polk, James Knox

James Knox Polk

b. 2 Nov 1795, near Little Sugar Creek, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
d. 15 Jun 1849, Nashville, Tennessee

Title: President of the United States
Term: 4 Mar 1845 - 4 Mar 1849
Chronology: 12 Feb 1845, election to the office of President of the United States is declared upon counting electoral votes (cast 4 Dec 1844), joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives, House Chamber, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. [1]
4 Mar 1845, commencement of term
4 Mar 1845, took an oath of office as President of the United States, inaugural ceremony as part of the special session of the Senate, East Portico, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. [2]
4 Mar 1849, expiration of term
Biography:
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, Tennessee; chief clerk of the State senate (1821-1823); member of the State House of Representatives (1823-1825); elected to the 19th Congress; reelected as a Jacksonian to the 20th through 24th Congresses and as a Democrat to the 25th Congress (4 Mar 1825 - 4 Mar 1839); chairman, Committee on Ways and Means (23rd Congress); Speaker of the House of Representatives (7 Dec 1835 - 4 Mar 1839); did not seek renomination in 1838 having become a candidate for Governor; Governor of the State of Tennessee (14 Oct 1839 - 14 Oct 1841); elected as a Democrat as President of the United States in 1844; administration was marked by large territorial gains; annexation of Texas (19 Feb 1846); two-year war with Mexico (1846-1847); acquired territories in the Southwest and far West (California); passed Walker Tariff Act (1846) to lower import duties; Oregon compromise (1846) established the international frontier at the 49th parallel; declined to be a candidate for renomination; died three months after the expiration of presidential term.
Biographical sources: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (2005).
Elections:

Candidate (party) Electoral vote (4 Dec 1844)
James Knox Polk (Democratic) 170
Henry Clay (Whig) 105
total number of electors appointed 275
number of votes for a majority 138
Source of electoral results: Congressional Globe, 28th Congress, 2nd Session, 277; House Journal, 28th Congress, 2nd Session, 372.

[1] Congressional Globe, 28th Congress, 2nd Session, 277; House Journal, 28th Congress, 2nd Session, 371-373.
[2] Senate Executive Journal, vol. VI, 411-422; Congressional Globe, 28th Congress, 2nd Session, 397-400.
Image: daguerreotype by Mathew Brady.
Last updated on: 09 Sep 2016 04:10:48