James K. Polk: A Resource Guide
Amazing Americans: James Knox Polk
Jump Back in Time
Designed for elementary and middle-school students, America's
Library provides a variety of stories about James Polk,
First "Dark Horse" Presidential Candidate,
the Wilmot Proviso to the Compromise of 1850, and
The Battle of Buena Vista, February 23, 1847
Created the Oregon Territory, August 14, 1848
K. Polk Is Elected 11th President of the United States,
November 5, 1844
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Was Signed In Mexico City, February
This site allows you to search and view millions of historic American newspaper pages from 1836-1922. Search
this collection to find newspaper
articles that reference James Polk from this time
A selection of articles related to James Polk includes:
- "Nomination of Polk!!! for President -- Withdrawal of Van Buren," New-York Daily Tribune, May 31, 1844.
- "A Short Biography of James Polk," The Columbia Democrat, June 8, 1844.
- "The Results," Jeffersonian Republican, November 21, 1844.
- "President Polk's Inaugural Address," New-York Daily Tribune, March 5, 1845.
Treasures of the Library of Congress
American Treasures of the Library of Congress is an unprecedented
exhibition of the rarest, most interesting or significant
items relating to America's past, drawn from every corner
of the world's largest library. The exhibition includes
the following documents pertaining to Polk.
Division Finding Aids Online
Access the finding aids for the papers of James
in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division.
and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)
Search PPOC using the subject heading Polk,
James K James Knox, 1795 1849 to find digital images
related to Polk, such as prints, photographs, and political
all text fields in PPOC using the phrase James Polk
to locate additional images.
There are approximately 700 daguerreotypes in the Prints & Photographs Division. The majority of the images are portraits, including one of James
This collection is comprised of over 29,000 images primarily of architectural subjects including interiors and exteriors of homes, stores, offices, factories, historic buildings, and other structures. The collection contains more than
twenty photographs of Polk's
residence in Columbia, Tennessee.
Presidents of the United States Selected Images From the Collections of the Library of Congress
This guide presents portraits of U.S. presidents and first ladies, including images of James Polk and Sarah
On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold
on the property of Johann A. Sutter near Coloma, California.
A builder, Marshall was overseeing construction of a sawmill
on the American River. The Gold Rush began in earnest
only after President
James Polk endorsed the discovery in December 1848.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in Mexico
City on February 2, 1848, ending the Mexican War and
extending the boundaries of the United States west to
the Pacific Ocean. The terms of the agreement established
the border between the U.S. and Mexico at the Rio Grande
and the Gila River and granted the U.S. more than 525,000
square miles of former Mexican territory that includes
present-day Arizona, California, western Colorado, Nevada,
New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. This treaty, along with the
Purchase, completed the continental expansion of the
United States General Zachary Taylor was victorious over
Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna in the Battle
of Buena Vista on February 23, 1847. Santa Anna's loss
at Buena Vista, coupled with his defeat by General
Winfield Scott at the Battle of Cerro Gordo in April
of that year, secured U.S. victory in the Mexican American
On June 23, 1845, a joint resolution of the Congress
of Texas voted in favor of annexation by the United States.
The leaders of the republic first voted for annexation
in 1836, soon after gaining independence from Mexico,
but the U.S. Congress was unwilling to admit another state
that permitted slavery. Sam Houston, commander of the
Texas army during the fight
for independence from Mexico and the first president
of the Republic of Texas, was a strong advocate of annexation.
On August 14, 1848, Congress created the Oregon
Territory, an area encompassing present-day Oregon,
and western Montana.
On November 5, 1844, Democratic candidate James K. Polk
defeated Whig Party candidate Henry
Clay to become the eleventh president of the United
States. Democrats nominated Polk as the nation's first
"dark horse" candidate on the ninth ballot of
the Democratic National Convention, after former president
Van Buren lost his bid because of his opposition to
annexing Texas, a position deemed unacceptable by Southerners
and by former president Andrew
Digital Reference Section Web Guides
Guide to the Mexican War
The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain
a wide variety of material associated with the Mexican
War (1846-48), including manuscripts, maps, broadsides,
pictures, sheet music, books, and government documents.
Documents in American History
This site offers a list of some of the most important
documents in American history from 1763 to 1877. Each
document has a page with background information, links
to digital material associated with the documents, and
bibliographies for both adult and young readers. Some
of the documents contain information related to Polk,
including the Treaty
of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
Polk Papers & Diary
Marvin Kranz, an American History Specialist in the Manuscript
Division, examines important documents within the James
Polk Papers and Diary at the Library of Congress.