CDV WAIST UP VIEW OF PRESIDENT JAMES K. POLK

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Item Code: 259-107

Image shows Polk in a slightly right profile wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and high collar with cravat.

Image is a bit grainy but otherwise good.

Reverse has back mark for E. ANTHONY FROM A BRADY NEGATIVE.

James Knox Polk was born November 2, 1795 in Pineville, North Carolina.

After building a successful law practice in Tennessee, Polk was elected to the state legislature (1823) and then to the United States House of Representatives in 1825. He served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1835 to 1839, and was the only president to have also served as Speaker. Polk left Congress to serve as Governor of Tennessee from 1839 to 1841 and lost in the election of 1842. He was a dark horse candidate for president in 1844, when he entered his party’s convention as a nominee for vice president; nevertheless, he won the presidential nomination as a compromise candidate among various party factions. In the general election, he defeated Henry Clay of the rival Whig Party, primarily due to his promise to annex the Republic of Texas.

Polk is considered by many the last exceptional president of the pre–Civil War era, having met during his four-year term every major domestic and foreign policy goal set during his campaign and transition to office. After threatening war, he reached a settlement with the United Kingdom over the disputed Oregon Country, whereby the territory was divided along the 49th parallel. Polk achieved a sweeping victory in the Mexican War, which resulted in the cession by Mexico of nearly all the American Southwest. He ensured a substantial reduction of tariff rates with the Walker tariff of 1846, which pleased the less-industrialized southern states through less expensive imported and domestic goods. He also re-established the Independent Treasury System, oversaw the opening of the United States Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institution, the groundbreaking for the Washington Monument, and the issuance of the first United States postage stamp. True to his campaign pledge to serve only one term, Polk left office in 1849 and returned to Tennessee; he died of cholera three months afterwards.

Scholars have ranked him favorably for his ability to promote and achieve the major items on his presidential agenda. However, he has also been criticized for leading the country into war against Mexico and for exacerbating sectional divides.

President Polk died on June 15, 1849 and is buried in Nashville, Tennessee. [ad]

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