Born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, in 1795, James K. Polk graduated from the University of North Carolina
in 1818 and served in the Tennessee state legislature from 1823 to 1825. He went to the United States House of Representatives
in 1825 and stayed until 1839, having become Speaker. He was governor of Tennesee from 1839 to 1841. He was a surprise nominee of the Democratic national convention in 1844, which had become deadlocked and favored Polk because they knew he favored annexation of Texas. As President, Polk provoked war with Mexico, which resulted in the United States obtaining California and other territories. Polk also agreed to a settlement of the Oregon Territory border with the British. A few week after leaving office, Polk died in Nashville
TN on June 15, 1849.