James K. Polk Essay

1047 words - 5 pages

James Knox Polk was the 11th president of the United States and the last to own slaves. During his presidency, territorial expansion of Texas and the Southwest was accomplished through the Mexican-American War and the Oregon Territory Northern Boundary was established between the United States and Canada. The Department of Interior, the Naval Academy and the Smithsonian were also established during his time as president. As he promised, he served only one term as president and died of cholera three months after leaving office. Polk was a shrewd business man, he established a plantation with slaves in North Mississippi while in office.
Polk was born on November 2, 1795 in Pineville, ...view middle of the document...

They both declared opposition to the annexation of Texas. Polk took a position and supported the annexation of Texas and of Oregon.
The American public favored westward expansion. Andrew Jackson decided to run a candidate for election wanting the precepts of Manifest Destiny. At the Democratic Convention, Polk was nominated to run for President. He won the popular vote by a small margin, but won the Electoral College by a landslide.
On March 4, 1845, at the age of 49, James K. Polk became the youngest president in American history. Congress had offered Texas Annexation prior to Polk taking the oath of office, and they accepted and became a new state. Upon their acceptance, Mexico cut off diplomatic relations and tensions heightened between the two countries.
Both England and the United States jointly occupied the Oregon Territory which at that time was much larger than the current state. Polk and his allies claimed all of the area for the United States from California to what is now the southern boundary of Alaska. It is located at 54° 40’ latitude earning the term “54-40 or fight” (James). Neither the Polk administration or England wanted a war, but Polk knew the only way to obtain all of the territory was to go to war. After a lot of negotiations England agreed to the 49th Parallel as the Southern Boundary of Canada which is the current boundary between Canada and the United States.
The quest for California and New Mexico did not go smoothly. The increased tensions between the United States and Mexico led to the Mexican American War. The battle led to the United States occupying Mexico and California and, the expansion from coast to coast was complete.
Another accomplishment of Polk was the establishment of the Smithsonian on August 10, 1846, by an act of Congress and signed by Polk. The institute was funded by James Smithson, an English scientist who left his estate to fund an establishment for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge.”(Smithsonian)
On October 10, 1845, Polk had yet another accomplishment. He established...

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