Joshua James K. Polk A man who was called a “dark horse” for his weakness in the presidential run, James Knox Polk was clearly the opposite. Serving as the Governor of Tennessee and the eleventh president, Polk was a man of politics. Expanding the borders of the United States, adding three states to the Union, and starting the Naval Academy clearly showed how misinterpreting he was. All of these accomplishments Polk had in his presidency came from his education from college, becoming one of the strongest presidents of America before the Civil War.

Born and raised in North Carolina, James Polk was accustomed to the struggles of the frontier life. Raised in North Carolina, Polk continued his education there to attend the University of North Carolina in 1818. As he studied there as a young lawyer, Polk studied politics, served in the Tennessee legislature for two years, in the House of Representatives for fourteen years, and led to become a good friend of President Andrew Jackson. Studying as a lawyer, Polk eventually established a law practice in Columbia, Tennessee.

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As for the House of Representatives, Polk was a chief lieutenant for Andrew Jackson during the Bank War, and served as Speaker between the years 1835-1839. After the fourteen years of the House, Polk left to successfully be elected the Governor of Tennessee. In the election of 1844, James K. Polk was elected the eleventh president of the United States. A candidate of the Democratic Party, Polk was known as the “dark horse,” thinking that he was the weakest candidate for president. Despite the reputation, Polk did many positive and ambitious goals for the United States.

As president, he supported the idea of America’s westward expansion, which led to the Texas statehood and acquiring the Oregon Territory. For Polk’s Administration, they achieved a better economy by lowering tariffs and maintaining an independent Federal Treasury. Polk was very ambitious about westward expansion; many people supported the thought of a continental America. During his presidency and from his goals of expansion, war broke out with Mexico in the Mexican War. After about two years, Mexico succeeded New Mexico and California to the United States.

In total, Polk gained about 800,000 square miles for the United States during his presidency. Serving only one term as president, James K. Polk left office in 1849 and returned to Tennessee. Emphasizing the goal of western expansion, Polk influenced the U. S. to a continental nation. Also the acquiring the state of California eventually led to many Americans there for the California Gold Rush. After only three months after his presidency, Polk died of cholera in his home state Tennessee.