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Polk, James Knoxlocked

(02 November 1795–15 June 1849)
  • James A. Rawley

Extract

Polk, James Knox (02 November 1795–15 June 1849), eleventh president of the United States, was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, the son of Samuel Polk and Jane Knox, farmers. His mother stamped her rigid orthodoxy on James, instilling lifelong Calvinistic traits of self-discipline, hard work, piety, individualism, and a belief in the imperfection of human nature. She also shared her own deep interest in politics. When James was eleven, the family migrated to Maury County, Tennessee, where Samuel Polk prospered as a farmer. James had only a rudimentary education until 1813, when he began studies at Presbyterian academies. At the age of twenty he passed the entrance requirements for the second class at the University of North Carolina. There he graduated first in his class, nearly exhausted by his hard-working habits. Back in Tennessee, he studied law in the Nashville office of ...

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