James Polk Essay, Research Paper
James Polk: Young Hickory and Dark-Horse Polk was born on a farm in Mecklenburg county, N. C. , on Nov. 2, 1795, the oldest of the 10 kids of Samuel and Jane Knox Polk. The Polks had moved from Pennsylvania a coevals earlier, among the first innovator colonists in that portion of North Carolina. James & # 8217 ; granduncle, Thomas Polk, was the most outstanding leader in the community. His maternal gramps, James Knox, was a husbandman and a blacksmith who had distinguished himself in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Through his granduncle Thomas Polk, Polk & # 8217 ; s male parent had benefitted from huge land guesss by which political insiders in North Carolina obtained claims on most of the good lands in what became the province of Tennessee. [ 1 ] In 1806, Polk & # 8217 ; s household moved to some of these lands on the Tennessee frontier, settling near the new town of Columbia in what subsequently became Maury County. James Polk, at this clip, developed terrible bilestones that were surgically removed in a hazardous process so. Without the benefit of modern engineering, sterilisation, or anaesthesia, the famed Kentucky sawbones Dr. Ephraim McDowell operated on him successfully taking the bilestones. He returned healthy that brought a haste of energy and aspiration. [ 2 ] This haste entices Polk to inscribe at a nearby Presbyterian academy for a twelvemonth in Columbia and another twelvemonth at a more celebrated educational establishment at Murfreesboro. At the age of 20, he successfully passed the entryway demands for the sophomore category of the University of North Carolina. He was & # 8220 ; correct, punctual, and hardworking, & # 8221 ; and as a graduating senior in 1818 he was the Latin salutatory speaker of his category & # 8211 ; the preeminent bookman in both the classics and mathematics. After graduation he returned to Tennessee and began to pattern jurisprudence in Nashville. His involvement in political relations, which had fascinated him even as a immature male child, was encouraged by his association with the outstanding condemnable attorney, Felix Grundy. The Panic of 1819 plunged the province into unprecedented economic hurt while Polk was in Nashville. As people cried out for alleviation from the difficult times, a new manner of political relations developed, with Grundy emerging as the paradigm of the politician who rises to power by defending, or looking to title-holder, the cause of the hard-pressed. Polk began to erudite political relations every bit good as jurisprudence, like an learner, from Grundy. [ 3 ] Because he was a confirmed Democrat, an foolproof protagonist of Andrew Jackson, and his manner of political oratory became so popular characterized as the & # 8220 ; Napoleon of the stump, & # 8221 ; his political calling was assured. Grundy, in 1819, helped Polk procure the clerkship in the province Senate. Meanwhile, holding been admitted to the saloon in 1820, he had been practising jurisprudence in Nashville and Columbia. Polk attained his first political station in 1823, winning election to the Tennessee House of Representatives. [ 4 ] His married woman furthered his rapid rise to political power, Sara Childress Polk, whom he married Jan. 1, 1824, while functioning in the province house of representatives from 1823-1825. ( Smith ) They had no kids. The societal prominence of her household and her personal appeal were distinguishable assets for a politically ambitious attorney. As an official hostess she won the esteem and regard of the taking figures of the twenty-four hours, and for 25 old ages she was her hubby & # 8217 ; s close comrade in province and national political relations. As a member of the legislative assembly Polk took sides against the antecedently dominant cabal of Tennessee politicians with whom his household had been allied. Supporting the policies of the popular reforming governor William Carroll, he emerged, despite his young person, as the legislative leader of the oppositions of the land speculators and the bankers. However, he broke with Carroll to back up the presidential aspirations of Tennessee & # 8217 ; s even more popular military hero, Gen. Andrew Jackson, a longtime friend of the Polk household. ( Smith ) This was easier because Jackson, excessively, had come to oppugn the land guesss and banking activities of his former political associates. In 1825, Polk entered the U.S. House of Representatives. He held his place in Congress for 14 old ages with lone occasional challenges. Jackson recieved more ballots than any of the three campaigners in the 1824 Presidential Election, but he did non win bulk electoral ballots, leting the House of Representatives to take John Quincy Adams as president. [ 5 ] Polk went to Washington with the paramount intent of assisting Jackson win the 1828 presidential term. By Jackson increasely swearing Polk, the immature congresswoman played a big portion in the four-year run that eventually installed Jackson in the White House in 1829 as President of the United States. [ 6 ] During Jackson & # 8217 ; s first term his prot g, & # 8220 ; Young Hickory & # 8221 ; Polk became a outstanding disposal spokesman in the House against internal-improvement undertakings and for duty decrease. Polk & # 8217 ; s Jeffersonian political orientation of provinces & # 8217 ; rights and limited authorities made him originally sympathetic to the philosophy of nullification that John C. Calhoun developed to oppose high protective duties. But when Jackson broke with Calhoun, Polk pulled back in clip to retain the president & # 8217 ; s assurance. Polk & # 8217 ; s opportunity, nevertheless, for greater prominence came in 1832. [ 7 ] Jackson vetoed the measure rechartering the Second Bank of the United States. As president of the Ways and Means Committee and main disposal leader in the House, Polk beat back the desperate attempts of the protagonists of the Bank to change by reversal disposal policy and unafraid recharter. His wages was election as the talker of the House in 1835. [ 8 ] Polk & # 8217 ; s skill and composure enabled Congress to sit out the ferocious arguments whipped up by the abolishment inquiry and by an inflamed partiality. Meanwhile many former Jackson & # 8217 ; s protagonists in Tennessee, led by Congressman John Bell, were interrupting off from Jackson & # 8217 ; s Democratic party. They were back uping Tennessee & # 8217 ; s favourite boy Hugh Lawson White, a WHIG, for president in 1836 against Jackson & # 8217 ; s pick, Vice President Martin Van Buren. Polk & # 8217 ; s attempts to form the province for Jackson & # 8217 ; s campaigner failed to maintain Tennessee in the Democratic column, although Van Buren did win the presidential term. Polk, in 1839, gave up the speakership to run for governor seeking to convey Old Hickory & # 8217 ; s province back into the Democratic crease. After a strenuous run, he eked out a narrow bulk. As a wages he sought the Democratic vice- presidential nomination in 1840, but was turned down by the national convention. In 1841 and once more in 1843 he was narrowly defeated for a 2nd term as governor of Tennessee. Polk & # 8217 ; s nomination as the Democratic campaigner for president in 1844 was unsought by him, alternatively ventured into the Democratic vice-presidential nomination, for the party had more outstanding boies in Martin Van Buren, Lewis C
buttocks, and James Buchanan. [ 9 ] He was one of the few political leaders trusted by both the pro-Van Buren and anti-Van Buren cabals in the acrimonious conflict for control of the party. A missive by Van Buren opposing the immediate appropriation of Texas enabled the anti-Van Buren delegates to barricade his presidential nomination. The stalemated national convention turned to Polk on the 9th ballot with 233 ballots. [ 10 ] Thus, Polk became the first “dark horse” presidential campaigner in U. S. history.
It was thought that Polk, as a party adult male from what was so the West, and a former member of the House of Representatives, would do legislative and executive cooperation and apprehension in the operation of the national authorities. While the talker of the House he had decided many procedural inquiries and had normally been sustained by bulks composed of the leaders of both parties. [ 11 ] His party feeling was intense, but his unity was unquestioned ; he knew the rights and privileges of the House, and he besides knew its duties. The 1844 run centered upon the appropriation of Texas and the re-occupation of Oregon. Conflict over the issue of bondage continued to strive the political relations of the state and straight affected the 1844 election. A national feeling of & # 8220 ; Manifest Destiny, & # 8221 ; the belief that the United States should cross the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, besides spurred political argument. The district now known as Texas was portion of a disputed boundary between the United States and Mexico in 1844. The issue of annexing Texas raised non merely the inquiry of war with Mexico, but besides the issue of whether Texas would be a free province or break one’s back province. Both the United States and Great Britain claimed the Oregon Territory. Polk & # 8217 ; s run motto of & # 8220 ; Fifty-four Forty or Fight! & # 8221 ; refers to the latitude co-ordinates of the disputed district. ( Bergeron, 168 ) Polk endorsed both the appropriation of Texas and American control of the full Oregon Territory. Polk besides promised if elected non to seek a 2nd term. A 3rd campaigner, James G. Birney, ran in the 1844 election extensively as an emancipationist. Birney & # 8217 ; s presence in the election captured ballots that Henry Clay needed in the province of New York. Henry Clay was the Whig campaigner who opposed the appropriation. In the election, Polk received 1,339,368 popular ballots and 170 electoral ballots to 1,300,687 and 105 for Clay and the remainder for Birney. ( Bergeron, 179 ) James Polk becomes the 11th president of the United States in 1844. The & # 8220 ; dark Equus caballus & # 8221 ; so proceeded to go one of the strongest and most successful presidents of the nineteenth century. In office he displayed singular accomplishment in the choice and control of his official advisers, and in his formal dealingss with Congress his legislative experience served him good. In the domestic domain, Polk drove Congress into passing all the major purposes of the Democratic Party & # 8211 ; reconstructing the independent exchequer system, aggressively look intoing federal appropriations for internal betterments, and cut downing the duty well. ( Morrel, 210 ) Polk & # 8217 ; s biggest jobs, nevertheless, were diplomatic policies and the military. [ 12 ] Both in the run and in his inaugural reference he endorsed the Democratic averment of the U. S. claim against Britain to the whole of the Oregon state. Though Polk was ready to compromise, he sent his Secretary of State, James Buchanan, to prehend on a British trip to follow an aggressive stance that finally persuaded Britain to avoid war. ( Jones, 140 ) Britain fell back from its insisting on a Columbia River boundary and accepted a via media boundary along the 49th analogue, which the United States had long been willing to accept. However, the Oregon crisis was particularly baleful because it coincided with a menace of war with Mexico. The U. S. appropriation of Texas incensed the Mexicans, which they considered a rebellious state of Mexico. President Polk sent John Slidell on a secret mission to Mexico City for dialogue on the followers: difference with the Texas boundary lines, settle the U.S. claims against Mexico, and buy New Mexico and California for up to $ 30,000,000. ( Jones, 152-53 ) Mexican functionaries, cognizant before Slidell & # 8217 ; s purpose of dismembering their state, refused to have him. Polk, who hoped to coerce Mexico to yield California to the United States, sent an ground forces to guard the Texas-Mexican boundary line, which he claimed to be the Rio Grande, more than 100 stat mis beyond the traditional boundary. At the same clip he threatened the Mexicans with war unless they paid some big and ill-founded claims by U. S. citizens against the Mexican authorities, proposing that Mexico could fulfill the claims by yielding New Mexico and California to the United States. When the Mexicans refused to subject to this browbeating, Polk ordered his ground forces to the Rio Grande. After the U. S. soldiers trained their guns on the Mexican town of Matamoras, a skirmish shortly occurred between Mexican and U. S. military personnels. Polk claimed that American blood had been shed, and at his goad, Congress declared war. Polk supervised every item of the military runs against Mexico. He got along severely with his field commanding officers, Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott, but he portions with them the recognition for the superb screening of the U. S. military. ( Winders, 174 ) When the Mexicans were eventually beaten into entry, the pact of Guadalupe Hidalgo between the United States and Mexico ended the Mexican War in 1848. It was signed at Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo, which is a northern portion of Mexico City. The pact drew the boundary between the United States and Mexico at the Rio Grande and the Gila River ; for a payment of $ 15,000,000 the United States received more than 525,000 square stat mis ( 1,360,000 square kilometer ) of land ( now Arizona, California, western Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah ) from Mexico and in return agreed to settle the more than $ 3,000,000 in claims made by U.S. citizens against Mexico. ( Jones, 159-61 ) In sum-up of James K. Polk & # 8217 ; s presidential term, the United States attained the desire of Manifest Destiny. The state now controlled the land between the two oceans. To an impressive grade, his political and administrative accomplishment got him what he wanted in the countries of domestic, diplomatic, and military policy. The provinces of Texas, Iowa, and Wisconsin were admitted to the Union during Polk & # 8217 ; s term of office. It was besides under Polk & # 8217 ; s presidential term that the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland was established. The issue of bondage, particularly in the freshly acquired lands, continued to stalk the state, and Polk & # 8217 ; s disposal did small to comfort the convulsion. His insensitiveness to the moral dimensions of the bondage inquiry made it impossible for him to understand the antislavery urge, and it is dubious whether even a political mastermind could hold settled the inquiry.