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President James K. Polk

James K. Polk was the 11th President of the United States from 1845 to 1849, the last strong pre-Civil War president.Created by: PICRYLDated: 2016
James K. Polk, Union Course, L.I., Friday, Oct. 15, 1847 / lith and pub. by N. Currier.
Polk was born in North Carolina. He later lived in and represented Tennessee. A Democrat, Polk served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Governor of Tennessee. Polk was the dark horse candidate for president in 1844, defeating Henry Clay of the rival Whig Party by promising to annex the Republic of Texas.
Under President Polk vast areas were added to the United States. During his 1845–49 presidency, Polk led the nation to a victory in the Mexican–American War, seizing nearly the whole of what is now the American Southwest. He threatened war with the United Kingdom over the issue of Oregon Country ownership, eventually reaching a settlement in which the British were made to sell the portion that became the Oregon Territory.
He built a treasury system that lasted until 1913, oversaw the opening of the U.S. Naval Academy and of 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 as President, Polk left office and returned to Tennessee in March 1849. He died of cholera three months later.
"One great object of the Constitution was to restrain majorities from oppressing minorities or encroaching upon their just rights."
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110 Media in collectionpage 1 of 2
James K. Polk. Governor of the state of Tennessee / from life & on stone by Chas. Fenderich ; printed by P.S. Duval, Lith., Philadelphia.

James K. Polk. Governor of the state of Tennessee / from life & on sto...

Print shows James K. Polk, half-length portrait, facing left; includes facsimile signature.

Called to account

Called to account

Once more the House of Representatives investigation of Treasury practices under the Van Buren administration in connection with the Swartwout embezzlement scandal. (See above nos. 1839-6 through -9.) The print... more

Footrace, Pennsylvania Avenue. Stakes $25,000

Footrace, Pennsylvania Avenue. Stakes $25,000

The race for a $25,000 prize (the president's salary) is a metaphor for the 1844 campaign. The favored contender here is Henry Clay. The other runners are James K. Polk and John Tyler, while commentaries are of... more

A peep at the future

A peep at the future

A Whig fantasy on the supposed outcome of the 1844 election. Here Henry Clay and Theodore Frelinghuysen occupy the White House. They watch from a window as John Tyler plays a hand organ and leads a group of mi... more

Political cock fighters

Political cock fighters

A figurative portrayal of the 1844 presidential contest as a cock-fight, in which Whig candidate Henry Clay prevails. Clay and Democratic opponent Polk battle in a pit or ring as several prominent political fi... more

Polk & Co. Going up Salt River

Polk & Co. Going up Salt River

The artist foresees a Democratic defeat in the 1844 presidential election. Party figures Martin Van Buren, Thomas Hart Benton, vice-presidential candidate George M. Dallas, Andrew Jackson, and presidential nomi... more

Virtuous Harry, or set a thief to catch a thief!

Virtuous Harry, or set a thief to catch a thief!

A satire on the Whig party's anti-annexation platform. The question of whether or not to annex Texas was a large issue separating candidates in the 1844 campaign. Annexation's serious implications for the futur... more

Treeing coons

Treeing coons

One of the few satires sympathetic to the Democrats to appear during the 1844 presidential contest. Democratic presidential nominee James Polk is portrayed as a buckskinned hunter who has treed "coons" Henry Cl... more

Texas coming in

Texas coming in

A pro-Democrat cartoon forecasting the collapse of Whig opposition to the annexation of Texas. James K. Polk, the expansionist candidate, stands at right near a bridge spanning "Salt River." He holds an America... more

The two bridges

The two bridges

As in "Texas Coming In" (no. 1844-28), a bridge over Salt River is the central motif, making the difference between the Whigs' successful crossing to the "Presidential Chair" and the disastrous route taken by t... more

For President: James K. Polk, of Tennessee. For Vice President: George M. Dallas, of Pennsylvania

For President: James K. Polk, of Tennessee. For Vice President: George...

A Democratic election ticket for the 1844 presidential campaign, issued sometime between May 29, when Polk received the Democratic nomination, and the November canvass. The ticket names the party's eight electo... more

James K. Polk - eleventh president of the United States / lith. & pub. by N. Currier, 2 Spruce St., N.Y.

James K. Polk - eleventh president of the United States / lith. & pub....

James K. Polk, half-length portrait, seated, facing slightly left, with the U.S. Capitol seen through window in the background. Title from item. Conningham no. 2614. Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / comp... more

Distinguished military operations with a hasty bowl of soup

Distinguished military operations with a hasty bowl of soup

The satire apparently perceives President Polk's reinstatement of Winfield Scott over Zachary Taylor as commander of U.S. forces in the Mexican War in November 1846 as an attempt to squelch the extreme personal... more

Funeral obsequies of free-trade

Funeral obsequies of free-trade

A gloomy view of the effects of the Polk administration's Tariff of 1846. The artist echoes Whig condemnation of the measure as adverse to American trade. A funeral cortege, composed of administration supporter... more

Battle of Churrubusco

Battle of Churrubusco

A slightly modified version of "Battle of Cerro Gordo" (no. 1847-2), in all likelihood produced by the same lithographer. The scene is quite similar, except for the inclusion of the later battle (the Battle of ... more

The Democratic funeral of 1848

The Democratic funeral of 1848

Foreseeing political death for the Democrats in the election, the artist imagines a funeral of the party's standard-bearers with a procession of the faithful. Democratic senators (left to right) Sam Houston of ... more

The fox hunt

The fox hunt

Again Van Buren's flirtation with radical interests is portrayed as his downfall. As in "The Modern Colossus" (no. 1848-56) antislavery activist Abby Folsom (here "Abby Fulsome") is prominently featured. Here s... more

Political guillotine

Political guillotine

A cryptic satire critical of Lewis Cass and incumbent President James K. Polk. The work probably appeared prior to the Whig national convention (June 9-10), since reference is made to a Clay-Fillmore ticket. (T... more

Political game of brag. Shew of hands

Political game of brag. Shew of hands

The artist resorts to the familiar metaphor of a card game for the presidential stakes in his rendition of the 1848 contest. The major contenders play a game of "brag" (an early form of poker). Around the tabl... more

Loco Foco hunters treeing a candidate

Loco Foco hunters treeing a candidate

A satire on the Democrats' or "Loco Focos'" 1852 pursuit of Franklin Pierce for the presidential nomination. At the foot of the White Mountains in the "Dismal Swamp," an immense, swampy region of North Carolina... more

[President James K. Polk, half-length portrait, seated, facing right]

[President James K. Polk, half-length portrait, seated, facing right]

Brady-Handy Collection (Library of Congress). Reproduction of a daguerreotype taken between 1845 and 1849. LC-BH82-8.

[James K. Polk, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left]

[James K. Polk, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left]

Title devised by Library staff. Photograph is reproduction of portrait print. Reference copy in BIOG FILE.

[James K. Polk, full-length portrait, seated, facing right]

[James K. Polk, full-length portrait, seated, facing right]

Steel engraving after painting by Chappel. Copyright by Johnson, Fry & Co.

Sarah Childress Polk, wife of President J.K. Polk / photo of portrait by George Dury.

Sarah Childress Polk, wife of President J.K. Polk / photo of portrait ...

Photograph showing Mrs. James K. Polk, head-and-shoulder portrait, facing slightly right. Title from item. Photo of portrait.

A democratic indignation meeting / after a sketch by our special artist in Elysium ; Keppler.

A democratic indignation meeting / after a sketch by our special artis...

Print shows the ghost of Thomas Jefferson speaking to a gathering of the ghosts of John Tyler, Lewis Cass, James K. Polk, Stephen A. Douglas, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Jackson, William L. Marcy, Samuel J. Tilden,... more

Burial place of James K. Polk, Nashville Tenn.
Charles Keck's statue honoring three North Carolina-born U.S. presidents: James K. Polk, Andrew Jackson, and Andrew Johnson, outside the state capitol in Raleigh, North Carolina

Charles Keck's statue honoring three North Carolina-born U.S. presiden...

Digital image produced by Carol M. Highsmith to represent her original film transparency; some details may differ between the film and the digital images. Title, date, and keywords provided by the photographer.... more

Photographer's Mate 1ST Class/Diver Slater videotapes a member of a Navy Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) team as he emerges from a hatch in the forward hull of the submerged nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine USS JAMES K. POLK (SSBN-645). The cameraman is videotaping the SEAL team members as they take part in lock-out procedures off the coast of Key West, Fla., during exercise PHANTOM STRIKER

Photographer's Mate 1ST Class/Diver Slater videotapes a member of a Na...

The original finding aid described this photograph as: Subject Operation/Series: PHANTOM STRIKER Country: Atlantic Ocean (AOC) Scene Camera Operator: PH2 (Dv) D. M. Tilton Release Status: Released to Public... more

Photographer's Mate 1ST Class/Diver Slater videotapes a member of a Navy Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) team as he emerges from a hatch in the forward hull of the submerged nuclear-powered strategic missile sumbarine USS JAMES K. POLK (SSBN-645). The cameraman is videotaping the SEAL team members as they take part in lock-out procedures off the coast of Key West, Fla., during exercise Phantom Striker

Photographer's Mate 1ST Class/Diver Slater videotapes a member of a Na...

The original finding aid described this photograph as: Subject Operation/Series: PHANTOM STRIKER Country: Atlantic Ocean (AOC) Scene Camera Operator: PH2 (Dv) D.M. Tilton Release Status: Released to Public ... more

A member of a Navy Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) team removes equipment from external storage spaces aboard the submerged nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine USS JAMES K. POLK (SSBN-645). He and other SEAL team members are taking part in lock-out procedures off the coast of Key West, Fla., during exercise PHANTOM STRIKER

A member of a Navy Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) team removes equipment from ext...

The original finding aid described this photograph as: Subject Operation/Series: PHANTOM STRIKER Country: Atlantic Ocean (AOC) Scene Camera Operator: PH2 (Dv) D.M. Tilton Release Status: Released to Public ... more

Close in view of the sail and dry deck shelter (DDS) of the nuclear-powered special operations submarine USS JAMES K. POLK (SSN-645) tied up at a pier

Close in view of the sail and dry deck shelter (DDS) of the nuclear-po...

The original finding aid described this photograph as: Base: Port Everglades State: Florida (FL) Country: United States Of America (USA) Scene Camera Operator: OS2 John Bouvia Release Status: Released to P... more

James K. Polk

James K. Polk

This record contains unverified data from PGA shelflist card. Associated name on shelflist card: Baillie.

James K. Polk: eleventh President of the United States

James K. Polk: eleventh President of the United States

Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Research. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, c1983, no. 3410

James K. Polk: eleventh President of the United States

James K. Polk: eleventh President of the United States

Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Research. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, c1983, no. 3411

James K. Polk

James K. Polk

483 U.S. Copyright Office. This record contains unverified data from PGA shelflist card. Associated name on shelflist card: Endicott

James K. Polk

James K. Polk

220 U.S. Copyright Office. This record contains unverified data from PGA shelflist card. Associated name on shelflist card: Duval, P.S.

James Knox Polk. Elected President of the U. States. 1844 / Haas Lith. Washington City.

James Knox Polk. Elected President of the U. States. 1844 / Haas Lith....

Print shows James K. Polk, half-length portrait, standing, facing front, with arms folded across chest; sketch of the "Map of the State of Tennessee" to the right. Title from item. Entered according to act of C... more

Inauguration of President Polk - The Oath

Inauguration of President Polk - The Oath

View of crowd with umbrellas, in front of platform on east portico of U.S. Capitol, where Chief Justice Roger B. Taney administers the oath of office to James K. Polk. Illus. in: The illustrated London news, v.... more

James K. Polk, 11th president of the United States / On stone by A. Newsam ; P.S. Duval, lith., Philada.

James K. Polk, 11th president of the United States / On stone by A. Ne...

James K. Polk, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly left.

James K. Polk: eleventh President of the United States

James K. Polk: eleventh President of the United States

After a daguerreotype by John Plumbe, Jr. Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Research. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, c1983, no. 3406

James K. Polk. Freedom's champion

James K. Polk. Freedom's champion

This record contains unverified data from PGA shelflist card. Associated name on shelflist card: Sarony & Major.

Pilgrims' progress

Pilgrims' progress

Democratic party war-horse Andrew Jackson appears frequently in the satires of the 1844 election campaign. Here, wearing a long frock coat and tall hat, he leads a donkey carrying Democratic candidates Polk and... more

President James K. Polk's grand march and quick step

President James K. Polk's grand march and quick step

From: Music Copyright Deposits, 1820-1860 (Microfilm M 3106) Also available through the Library of Congress Web Site as facsimile page images. (additional physical form) In bound volumes: Copyright Deposits 1820-1860

[Nashville, Tenn. Tomb of President James K. Polk]

[Nashville, Tenn. Tomb of President James K. Polk]

Photograph of the War in the West. These photographs are of Hood before Nashville. Continuing his policy of the offensive at any cost, Gen. John B. Hood brought his reduced army before the defenses of Nashvill... more

[Nashville, Tenn. Tomb of President James K. Polk]

[Nashville, Tenn. Tomb of President James K. Polk]

Photograph of the War in the West. These photographs are of Hood before Nashville. Continuing his policy of the offensive at any cost, Gen. John B. Hood brought his reduced army before the defenses of Nashvill... more

[Nashville, Tenn. Tomb of President James K. Polk]

[Nashville, Tenn. Tomb of President James K. Polk]

Photograph of the War in the West. These photographs are of Hood before Nashville. Continuing his policy of the offensive at any cost, Gen. John B. Hood brought his reduced army before the defenses of Nashvill... more

James K. Polk: eleventh President of the United States

James K. Polk: eleventh President of the United States

Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Research. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, c1983, no. 3409

James K. Polk: eleventh President of the United States

James K. Polk: eleventh President of the United States

Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Research. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, c1983, no. 3409

James K. Polk--President elect of the United States / lith. & pub. by N. Currier.

James K. Polk--President elect of the United States / lith. & pub. by ...

James K. Polk, full-length portrait, standing, facing slightly right, his right hand extending to his side, and left hand on drape on table. Title from item. Copyright by N. Currier. Currier & Ives : a catalogu... more

James K. Polk--President elect of the United States / lith. & pub. by N. Currier.

James K. Polk--President elect of the United States / lith. & pub. by ...

James K. Polk, full-length portrait, standing, facing slightly right, his right hand extending to his side, and left hand on drape on table. Title from item. Copyright by N. Currier. Currier & Ives : a catalogu... more

[James Knox Polk, three-quarter length portrait, three-quarters to the right, seated]
[James Knox Polk, three-quarter length portrait, three-quarters to the right, seated]
[James Knox Polk, three-quarter length portrait, three-quarters to the right, seated]
[James Knox Polk, three-quarter length portrait, three-quarters to the right, seated]
Polk in his extremity

Polk in his extremity

Henry Clay's easy ascent to the presidency here is in contrast to the serious difficulties experienced by his Democratic opponent James K. Polk. Clay has reached the top of a large pole and has the "Civic Crow... more

James K. Polk, President of the United States / From life on stone by Ch. Fenderich 1845.

James K. Polk, President of the United States / From life on stone by ...

Print shows James K. Polk, half-length portrait, facing front. Title from item. Publication date based on copyright statement on item. Forms part of: Popular graphic art print filing series (Library of Congress).