James K. Polk was the eleventh president of the United States of America. Born in Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, James Polk moved to Tennessee with his family. He graduated from the University of North Carolina and became a member of the bar in Tennessee. Here are some James Polk major accomplishments.
1. Became a member of the House of Representatives of Tennessee.
He became a member of the United States House of Representatives after serving two years in the state. He remained a member of the US House of Representatives for fourteen years of which the last four were as speaker. In 1839, Polk became the Governor of Tennessee.
2. A loyal supporter of Andrew Jackson.
Polk became the answer to a quandary for the Democrats. No Democrat had secured the two third votes to be nominated as the presidential candidate. He was only considered as a vice presidential nominee till then. Eventually he won the ninth ballot and became the first dark horse nomine in history.
3. Oversaw the annexation of New Mexico and California subsequent to the American-Mexican war.
He claimed Oregon from England and signed the treaty. Although he did not seek a second term, his acquisition of territories and leadership during the war had lead to him being referred to as the best president to have held office for one term.
4. Responsible for annexing New Mexico.
Polk’s annexing New Mexico is historically significant because the relation with Mexico was in jeopardy after Texas was annexed to the US by former President John Tyler. It was the annexation of Texas and border disputes along the Rio Grande River that led to the war with Mexico. President Polk led the American forces to victory against the Mexican troops in California in 1847.
5. Signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in February 1848.
The treaty fixed Rio Grande as the border. The United States gained Nevada and California. This was much more land than what the US had bargained for initially. Polk is credited to have acquired more land than any other president after Thomas Jefferson. For the land annexed to the United States, the government paid $15 million to Mexico. The acquisition of land halved the size of Mexico.
President James K. Polk had an eventful first term. He did not run for a second term and died three months after the term ended.