James K. Polk
James Knox Polk was the 11th President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 (1845–1849). Polk was born in Mecklenburg County
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
-Air:The county's primary commercial aviation airport is Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte.- Intercity rail :With twenty-five freight trains a day, Mecklenburg is a freight railroad transportation center, largely due to its place on the NS main line between Washington and Atlanta...

, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

. He later lived in and represented Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

. A Democrat
History of the United States Democratic Party
The history of the Democratic Party of the United States is an account of the oldest political party in the United States and arguably the oldest democratic party in the world....

, Polk served as the 17th Speaker of the House of Representatives
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, or Speaker of the House, is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives...

 (1835–1839) and the 12th Governor of Tennessee (1839–1841). Polk was the surprise ("dark horse
Dark horse
Dark horse is a term used to describe a little-known person or thing that emerges to prominence, especially in a competition of some sort.-Origin:The term began as horse racing parlance...

") candidate for president in 1844, defeating Henry Clay
Henry Clay
Henry Clay, Sr. , was a lawyer, politician and skilled orator who represented Kentucky separately in both the Senate and in the House of Representatives...

 of the rival Whig Party
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

 by promising to annex Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...


Foreign powers do not seem to appreciate the true character of our Government.

Inaugural Address (4 March 1845)

The world has nothing to fear from military ambition in our Government.

Inaugural Address (4 March 1845)

The passion for office among members of Congress is very great, if not absolutely disreputable, and greatly embarrasses the operations of the government. They create offices by their own votes and then seek to fill them themselves.

Diary entry (22 June 1846)

Thank God, under our Constitution there was no connection between church and state.

Diary entry (14 October 1846)

There is more selfishness and less principle among members of Congress, as well as others, than I had any conception [of], before I became President of the U.S.

Diary entry (16 December 1846)

With me it is emphatically true that the presidency is "no bed of roses."

Diary entry (4 September 1847)