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  • Ken S
    Welcome to the James K. Polk Appreciation Group. This group is intended as a place for admirers of the 11th President of the United States, a remarkable man
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 12, 2006
      Welcome to the James K. Polk Appreciation Group. This group is
      intended as a place for admirers of the 11th President of the United
      States, a remarkable man and perhaps the most under-rated President.
      Polk was a brilliant man, graduating with top honors in mathematics
      and the classics at the University of North Carolina. He returned to
      Tennessee determined to become a lawyer. To receive legal training,
      he worked in the office of renowned Nashville trial attorney Felix
      Grundy and served as clerk of the Tennessee Senate. Polk established
      a law practice in Columbia, Tennessee.

      Success in the law was followed by a successful political career. At
      age twenty-seven, he defeated an incumbent for a seat in the
      Tennessee Legislature. He was a strong supporter of fellow Tennessee
      Democrat Andrew Jackson, and was elected to the U.S. Congress at age
      twenty-nine. His Congressional career lasted fourteen years and
      included two terms as Speaker of the House. While working in
      Washington, he remained keenly interested in state politics.
      Concerned that the Whig Party was becoming increasingly popular in
      Tennessee, he returned home and successfully ran for the
      governorship. After one two-year term, he twice failed to be re-
      elected. Never one to be counted out, in 1844, when the Democratic
      party's leading Presidential contenders Martin Van Buren and Lewis
      Cass failed to attract sufficient support to win the nomination, the
      deadlocked convention needed a compromise candidate. Polk emerged as
      the Democrats' "dark horse" nominee

      Challenging the well-known Whig candidate Henry Clay in the 1844
      Presidential election, Polk promised to actively encourage America's
      westward expansion. He favored Texas statehood and the acquisition
      of the Oregon Territory. Although critics expressed concern that
      aggressive expansionism might lead to a war with Great Britain or
      Mexico and might destroy the tenuous balance between free states and
      slave states, a majority of Americans accepted Polk's vision of a
      continental nation.

      Polk was elected and pledged to sit for only one term. In that term,
      his accomplisments were amazing, the product of a strong work ethic.
      Tense negotiations with Great Britain concluded with American
      annexation of the Oregon Territory south of the 49th Parallel.
      Following a controversial two-year war, Mexico ceded New Mexico and
      California to the United States. During Polk's term of office, the
      United States acquired over 800,000 square miles of western
      territory and extended its boundary to the Pacific Ocean. The Polk
      Administration also achieved economic objectives by lowering tariffs
      and establishing an independent Federal Treasury.

      At the conclusion of his term, returned to Tennessee in March, 1849.
      Polk died of cholera three months later.

      Following is a list of what was accomplished during Polk's term:

      *27th star added to the flag for Florida, July 4, 1845
      *Naval Academy opened at Annapolis, Maryland, October 10, 1845
      *Texas becomes the 28th state, December 29, 1845
      *Uniform election day established, January 23, 1846
      *War declared against Mexico, May 13, 1846
      *First known baseball game played under rules established by
      Alexander Cartwright, at Elysian Fields, Hoboken, New Jersey,
      June 19, 1846
      *Treaty concluded with Great Britain establishing the Oregon
      boundary at the 49th parallel, June 15, 1846
      *Independent Treasury Act approved August 6, 1846
      *Smithsonian Institute created August 6, 1846
      *Elias Howe patents the sewing machine, September 10, 1846
      *Rotary printing press invented 1845-1846
      *Treaty signed with New Grenada (Colombia) granting U.S. right of
      way across Isthmus of Panama, December 12, 1846
      *Iowa becomes the 29th state, December 28, 1846
      *Postage stamp authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1847
      *Congress provided for gas lighting of the Capitol and grounds,
      March 3, 1847
      *An advance party of Mormons entered the valley of the Great Salt
      Lake, July 22, 1847
      *Gold discovered in California, January 24, 1848
      *Treaty signed with Mexico, February 2, 1848
      *Wisconsin becomes the 30th state, May 29, 1848
      *Cornerstone of the Washington Monument laid, July 4, 1848
      *First Women's Rights Convention held at Seneca Falls, New York,
      July 19, 1848
      *Territorial government of Oregon established, August 14, 1848
      *Department of the Interior created March 3, 1849
      *Coinage of the gold dollar and double eagle ($20), March 3, 1849
      *In the "Fabulous Forties" Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Longfellow,
      Whittier, Lowell, Poe, and Cooper produced the "Golden Age of
      American Letters."

      This yahoo group is created for those interested in the history of
      the life and times of this fascinating and great man. His work
      ethic, principles and integrity leave lessons that are as valuable
      and meaningful today as they were in Polk's day.
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