Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The American Presidents: James K. Polk

The following is from a work-in-progress called "The American Presidents: a Coloring Book."

James K. Polk (1795 – 1849) was the 11th president of the United States (1845–1849).  Polk was a slaveholder and plantation owner for his entire life.  As president, he led the nation into the Mexican-American War, which resulted in the recently-independent nation of Mexico losing half of its country, and the U.S. gaining the land that would include California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas. The war claimed 20,000 American lives and 50,000 Mexican lives.  General Ulysses S. Grant called the Mexican-American War "one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation." Polk was nicknamed "Napoleon of the Stump".  During his presidency, many abolitionists harshly criticized him as an instrument of the "Slave Power", and claimed that spreading slavery was the reason he supported annexing Texas and later war with Mexico.  He died three months after leaving office. 

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