YAMES K. POLK.
ously re-elected until 1839. He then withdrew,
only that he might accept the
gubernatorial chair of his native State.
He was a warm friend of General Jackson,
who had been defeated in the electoral
contest by John Quincy Adams. This
latter gentleman had just taken his seat in
the Presidential chair when Mr. Polk took
his seat in the House of Representatives.
lie immediately united himself with the
opponents of Mr. Adams, and was soon
regarded as the leader of the Jackson party
in the House.
The four years of Mr. Adams' administration
passed away, and General Jackson
took the Presidential chair. Mr. Polk had
now become a man of great influence in
Congress, and was chairman of its most
important committee-that of Ways and
Means. Eloquently he sustained General
Jackson in all his measures-in his hostility
to internal improvements, to the banks, and
to the tariff. Eight years of General Jacksoil's
administration passed away, and the
powers he had wielded passed into the
hands of MIartin Van Buren; and still Mr.
Polk remained in the House, the advocate
of that type of Democracy which those
distinguished men upheld.;
During five sessions of Congress Mr.
Polk was speaker of the House. He performed
his arduous duties to general satisfaction,
and a unanimous vote of thanks to
him was passed by the House as he withdrew,
March 4, 1839. He was elected
Governor by a large majority, and took
the oath of office at Nashville, October 14,
1839. He was a candidate for re-election
in 1841, but was defeated. In the meantime
a wonderful revolution had swept
over the country. W. H. Harrison,the Whig
candidate, had been called to the Presidential
chair, and in Tennessee the Whig ticket
had been carried by over I2,ooo majority.
Under these circumstances Mr. Polk's success
was hopeless. Still he canvassed the
State with his Whig competitor, Mr. Jones,
traveling in the most friendly manner together,
often in the same carriage, and at
one time sleeping in the same bed. Mr.
Jones was elected by 3,000 majority.
And now the question of the annexation
of Texas to our country agitated the whole
land. When this question became national
Mr. Polk, as the avowed champion of annexation,
became the Presidential candidate
of the pro-slavery wing of the Democratic
party, and George M. Dallas their candi'date
for the Vice-Presidency. They were
elected by a large majority, and were inaugurated
March 4, 1845.
President Polk formed an able cabinet,
consisting of James Buchanan, Robert J.
Walker, William L. Marcy, George Ban.
croft, Cave Johnson and John Y. Mason.
The Oregon boundary question was settled,
the Department of the Interior was created,
the low tariff of I846 was carried, the
financial system of the Government was
reorganized, the Mexican war was conducted,
which resulted in the acquisition of
California and New Mexico, and had farreaching
consequences upon the later fortunes
of the republic. Peace was made.
We had wrested from Mexico territory
equal to four times the empire of France,
and five times that of Spain. In the prosecution
of this war we expended 20,000
lives and more than $oo00,000,000. Of this
money $15,000,000 were paid to Mexico.
Declining to seek a renomination, Mr.
Polk retired from the Presidency March 4,
1849, when he was succeeded by General
Zachary Taylor. He retired to Nashville,
and died there June 19, I849, in the fifty.
fourth year of his age. His funeral was attended
the following day, in Nashville, with
every demonstration of respect. He left
no children. Without being possessed of
extraordinary talent, Mr. Polk was a capable
administrator of public affairs, and irre.
Lewis Publishing Company. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas.. Chicago, Illinois. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20932/. Accessed August 31, 2015.