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James Polk Report

             James Knox Polk, 11th President of the United States was born on a farm in Mecklenburg County, NC on November 2, 1795, the oldest of ten children of Samuel and Jane Knox Polk. Polk was one of the hardest working presidents in American history. Polk was unusually successful in accomplishing, in a single four-year term, many ambitious goals in both domestic and foreign policy. The energy with which this president pushed the capture of Texas, the settlement of the territorial dispute with Britain over Oregon, and the conquest of the Southwest through war with Mexico extended the territory of the United States to the Pacific.
             James Polk was not a promising youth, being too sickly for frontier occupations and too poorly educated for a professional career. The young Polk attended a nearby academy for one year and another year at a more prominent one in Murfreesboro, prepared him for the University of North Carolina. After graduating from college, Polk went to Nashville, Tennessee, to study law under Felix Grundy, who was a leading power in the state's legislature. In 1819, a severe depression hit the United States and Polk became aware of the political unrest caused by the depression. This experience made him distrustful of banks, speculators, and paper credit, which would later influence political decisions. After obtaining and continuing his own law practice Polk gradually became more involved and interested in politics.
             In 1825, Polk entered the U.S. House of Representatives. This seat was held in congress for 14 years with only occasional challenges. Polk went to Washington for the sole purpose of helping Andrew Jackson win the Presidency in 1828. In 1835 the democrats elected Polk as the Speaker of the House. Polk resigned from Congress and then in 1839 ran for Governor of Tennessee and was elected which impressed the Nation's democratic leaders.
             Martin Van Buren was the leading candidate in the 1844 presidential election and James Polk was a potential candidate for the vice presidency.

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