|Cause of Death||Age||Burial Location||President Grave #|
|Cholera||53||Nashville, Tennessee||30th in my collection|
Polk was certainly qualified to be the president of the United States.
Entering politics in his late twenties, he started out as a member of
the Tennessee state legislature before he ascended to the U.S. House of
Representatives. He served there for fourteen years, and was the speaker
of the House for over three years. In 1839, he became the governor of
Tennessee, and held that position until 1841. A dark horse candidate for
the Democrats, Polk faced a well-known Kentucky senator, Henry Clay.
Playing on Polk's obscurity (despite all of his accomplishments), the
Whigs came up with the slogan "James K. Who?". This tactic did not work,
and Polk won the White House. Henry Clay lost his third and final bid
for the presidency.
* One of Polk's greatest achievements as president was expanding the United States and putting an end to its border disputes. Ever since the commencement of the Texas Revolution, Mexico and the United States had feuded over the land which became the Lone Star State. When the land was annexed in 1845, Mexico still remained bitter and wanted it back. Taking advantage of an attack by Mexican cavalrymen at the Rio Grande, Polk pushed Congress to declare war on the country. The U.S. was victorious, and the Mexico-Texas border was reaffirmed. Polk also oversaw the acquisitions of California, New Mexico, and Oregon, all of which eventually became states. Arguments over the latter territory inspired the famous slogan "Fifty-four Forty or Fight!", which refers to its geographic location on a globe.
* While Jimmy Carter holds the distinction for having the longest retirement from the presidency, Polk had the shortest. In 1848, Polk fulfilled his final campaign promise by not seeking a second term. Shortly after handing over the reigns to his successor, Polk embarked on a journey that took him through the southern states. Unfortunately, the former president stopped in the city of New Orleans, where a cholera epidemic had broken out. Polk contracted the disease, and was taken back to his home in Tennessee. It was too late though. James K. Polk died on June 15, 1849, just 103 days after leaving the presidency.
First Lady: Sarah Childress Polk
- Spouse: Sarah Childress Polk (m. 1824-1849)
Political Party: Democratic Party
Vice President: George Mifflin Dallas
Last Words: "I love you, Sarah, for all eternity, I love you."