James K. Polk

polk1November 2, 1795 – June 15, 1849

I believe many would consider James Knox Polk – the 11th President of the United States – as one of the “lesser known” Presidents. Sort of wedged in there next to Millard Filmore and Franklin Pierce. But, in his single 4-year term in office, Polk managed to create quite the legacy. His biggest accomplishment, from a historical standpoint, was taking the nation to war against Mexico over a little plot of land called “Texas.” The U.S. won the Mexican-American war and the landscape of the country, specifically the southwest, was altered forever. And, just for good measure, he also threatened to go to war with Britain over the Pacific Northwest. But that conflict never materialized. He was also credited with implementing the first U.S. postage stamp, creating the Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institute.  It seems like Polk was the kind of guy who did whatever he wanted and got results. He was so active as President that he, citing health issues accumulated while in office, refused to seek a second term. Good move. He died of cholera a few months after leaving the White House.


Tennessee State Capitol – Nashville, TN

Specific Location

At the northeast corner of the grounds.



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