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James Polk

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Interior: Fun Crossed Out
Polk said, "No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure."
The president with the shortest retirement, he died three months after he left office.

James Polk Curriculum Vitae

Presidential Number: 11th

Years President: 1845-1849

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Main Contender:  Henry Clay

State Represented: Tennessee

Birthday: November 2, 1795

Place of Birth: Mecklenburg County, North Carolina

Higher Education: University of North Carolina

Prior Occupations: planter, lawyer, secretary of the senate, speaker of the house, governor of Tennessee

Nickname: Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump

Height: 5’ 8”

Favorite Food: ham with corn pone

Hobbies: Polk said, “No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure.”

Pets: It is said President Polk learned to ride before he could walk and had a great love of horses, but no White House pets were noted during his administration.

Legacy: Polk’s main goal was to expand borders. He settled a dispute with Great Britain about the Oregon Territory. Threatening Britain with war over the Northwest, Britain agreed to a border at the 49th parallel, which is today’s border between the US and Canada. Polk also granted Texas statehood. This made the Mexican government angry, precipitating the Mexican-American War, at which time the U.S. took much of the land that became the American Southwest, including New Mexico, Arizona and California. In total, Polk added 1.2 million square miles of land to the US.

Trivia: Instituted “Hail to the Chief” as accompaniment to presidential entrances; hosted the first Thanksgiving dinner at the White House; did not allow music, alcohol or dancing at parties; first president to have his photograph taken while in office; first president to voluntarily retire after one term; died three months after leaving office, the shortest retirement of any president.