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1) Born on November 2, 1795, James Knox Polk was the oldest of 10 children born to Samuel Polk, a farmer and surveyor, and his wife, Jane.
2) The delegates at the convention could not agree on a nominee, party was deadlocked between Martin Van Buren and Lewis Cass. They eventually decided to compromise by picking a dark horse candidate.
3) Polk had as much charisma as a puddle of mud. He was straight laced, somber, and humorless. Some attributed Polk boringness to his refusal to drink socially.
4) Polk and the British drew a border at the 49th parallel, with some adjustment for Vancouver Island, what is now Washington State boundary with Canada.
5) The United States lost 13,000 men and approximately $100 million in the ensuing Mexican American war but succeeded in taking one-third of Mexico land.
6) Polk ambivalence towards slavery issue helped sow so much discord that historians now consider his rapid expansion westward a catalyst toward the Civil War. Polk died, likely of cholera, in 1849.
Date of Birth