National Historical Publications & Records Commission

The Correspondence of James K. Polk

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James K. Polk


University of Tennessee Press

Additional information at

James Knox Polk (1795 –1849) was the 11th President of the United States (1845–1849). A Democrat, Polk served as a member of Congress from Tennessee, and as Speaker of the House of Representatives (1835–1839). He later served a single term as governor of Tennessee. Relatively unknown, Polk won the 1844 presidential election as a dark horse candidate. As president, he reduced tariffs, reformed the national banking system, and settled a boundary dispute with the British that secured the Oregon Territory. Polk also led the nation into the Mexican-American War (1846-48), in which the United States acquired California and much of the present-day Southwest. Polk kept his campaign promise to be a one-term president and did not seek reelection. Three months after leaving the White House, he died at age 53. This collection is comprehensive edition of all known significant letters to and from Polk.


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