Presidency of James Knox Polk (263 words)

Historical Context Note

  • Lucas Paul Richert (University of Saskatchewan)


 During the election of 1844, James K. Polk, former Speaker of the House, took a stand on two important issues. First, Polk demanded immediate annexation of Texas. Second, Polk claimed the entire Oregon Territory as property of the United States and he eschewed an agreement with England that provided for joint ownership. In fact, Polk adopted the political campaign slogan “fifty-four forty or fight.” In the final event, the election was rather close: Polk defeated his Democratic opponent, Henry Clay, by 38,000 votes and 170 electoral votes to 105. On the domestic front, the Polk presidency was significant for its vast territorial acquisitions. Texas was annexed – as Polk had promised. The result was a two-year war with Mexico. …

Richert, Lucas Paul. "Presidency of James Knox Polk". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 January 2009
[, accessed 24 April 2017.]

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