James was born about noon on November 2, 1795, on the family farm in Mecklenburg county, North Carolina. His father was Samuel Polk (1772-1827) and his mother was Jane Knox Polk (1776-1852)

He was the eldest of 10 children, Polk had 5 brothers and 4 Sisters-Mrs Jane Maria Walker, Lydia Eliza Caldwell, Franklin Ezekiel Polk, Marshall Tata Polk, John Lee Polk, Naomi Tate Harris, Mrs. Ophelia Clarissa Hays, William Hawkins Polk and Samuel Polk. 

James K Polk Married Sarah Childress when he was 28 and she was 20 years of age on January 1, 1824, at the plantation home of the bride's parents near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. They did not have any children.

James received an informal basic education and at age 17 he clerked at a store in Columbia, Tennessee, in order to learn merchandising. In 1813 he enrolled at a Presbyterian school run by reverend Robert Henderson outside Columbia. Later, he was tansferred to a more demanding institution under Samuel P. Black at Murfreesboro. He moved to a college education in 1816 to the University of North Carolina from where he graduated of studies of Latin, Mathematics and philosophy in 1818.In 1820 Polk was admited to the bar.

James served in the Military in 1821 where he was commissioned a Captain of a militia Cavalry regiment and later rose colonel. He hold some public positions- Member of Tennessee House of representatives (1823-1825), US Representative (1825-1839) Speaker of the House (1835-1839), Governor of Tennessee (1839-1841).

He was nominated for the presidency in1844 having as the nominated vice-president to Gorge Mifflin Dallas (1792-1864) of Pennsylvania. Polk was in favor of the "Manifest Destiny" a frase popularized by Democrats to express the belief that the US was divinely driven to rule from sea to sea therefore he endorsed the concept of the anexation of Texas poisoned Mexican American relations. The US Army were clearly superior to the Mexicans. The conflict ended in 1848.

James died June 15, 1849 at Polk Place, Nashville. During his souther tour, Polk felt ill possibly from colera that had broken out in New Orleans, one of his stops.

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