James K. Polk, the 11th president of the United States, was born on November 2, 1795, in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Even Polk was surprised when he was nominated as president, as he had not actively sought the position. However, his political experience and dedication to the Democratic Party made him a popular choice among party members.
Polk's political career began in Tennessee, where he served as a member of the state legislature and later as the state's governor. His success in these roles catapulted him onto the national stage, leading to his election as the Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1835. During his time in Congress, Polk was known for his strong support of President Andrew Jackson's policies.
In 1844, Polk ran for president and won against his opponent, Henry Clay. His presidency was marked by a commitment to Manifest Destiny, the belief that the United States was destined to expand its territory from coast to coast. Polk successfully negotiated the Oregon Treaty with Great Britain, securing the northern border of the United States at the 49th parallel.