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him, that he felt called upon to defend himself from their violence; and, after declaring his determination to do his duty, regardless of party ties, he said, "I appeal from the vituperation of the present day to the pen of impartial history, in confidence that neither my motives nor my acts will bear the interpretation which, for sinister motives, has been placed upon them.” On the expiration of his official term, he retired to his estate at Williamsburg.
JAMES KNOX POLK,
TUE TENTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, Was born at Mecklenberg, North Carolina, November 2, 1795, and there received the rudiments of his early education. In 1806, his father removed to Nashville, Tennessee, taking his family with him, and here it was that Mr. Polk pursued those preliminary studies which were requisite to qualify him for the legal profession. After due preparation, he entered the office of Hon. Felix Grundy, under whose able instruction he made such rapid progress, that he was admitted to practice in 1820. His duties at the bar did not prevent him from taking part in the political affairs of the day; and in this sphere his comprehensive views and zealous devotion to Democracy soon secured him a widely-extended popularity, which resulted in his election to the Legislature of Tennessee, in 1823. In 1825, while yet in his thirtieth year, he was chosen a member of Congress, in which body he remained fourteen years—being honored with the Speakership for several sessions. So well satisfied were his constituents with his congressional course, that he was elected Governor by a large majority, but some questions of local policy subsequently defeated his reëlection.
In 1844, he was unexpectedly nominated for the office of . President of the United States by the Democratic Convention at Baltimore; and, having received sixty-five electoral votes more than his rival candidate, Mr. Clay, he was inaugurated on the 4th of March, 1815.
Soon after Mr. Polk assumed the reins of government, the country became involved in a war with Mexico, which was little more than a series of victories wherever the American banner was displayed, and which resulted in important territorial acquisitions. The ostensible ground for this war, on the part of Mexico, was the admission of Texas into the Union, which was one of the first acts of Mr. Polk's administration. The Mexicans, however, paid dearly for asserting their frivolous claim to Texas as a revolted
provo ince, and the prompt and energetic course pursued by Mr.
Polk was sanctioned and sustained by a large majority of the people.
But potwithstanding the advantageous issue of the war, the acquisition of Texas, and the satisfactory settlement of several vexed questions of long standing, Mr. Polk was not nominated for a second term-various extraneous matters leading to the selection of another candidate. Perhaps it was fortunate for the country and for himself that he was permitted to retire to the more congenial enjoyment of private life; for his health had become very much impaired, and he did not long survive after reaching his home in Nashville. He died June 15, 1849.