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James K Polk As An American Character

2158 words - 9 pages

The American CharacterBen JohnsonDefining the American CharacterThe American character can be defined by a significant person in American history that has made a significant contribution to the country. A significant American character can be demonstrated by a variety of different types of figures in history. An American president that can successfully work towards goals to change society is a well-demonstrated example of an American character. A president that can work towards his goals despite what others are pushing him to do and stick to his promises for the "greater good" of the nation would be considered a significant American figure.Throughout history many people have accomplished ...view middle of the document...

A significant American character is demonstrated by a person with determination, motivational power, and the types of qualities that a person would need to lead an entire nation through good times, bad times, times of peace, and times of problems. The American character is the type of person that can effectively lead, no matter what pressure is on them or in what situation the nation is in. The eleventh president of the United States, James Knox Polk, demonstrates this type of leader, an American character.Introduction to James K. PolkJames Knox Polk, the eleventh president of the United States, has been one of the few presidents that have achieved significant success in one term. During his presidency he established his place in history as an American character through his actions and accomplishments. In the 1844 presidential election, his strong backing of manifest destiny, specifically the acquisition of Texas, Mexico and California, helped him gain enough popularity to overcome the strong frontrunner in the election, Henry Clay. He also showed determination and persistence to fulfill his campaign promises by his actions during his presidency. "In office he demonstrated remarkable skill in the selection and control of his official advisors, and in his formal relations with Congress his legislative experience served him well"(Robinson 2).Introduction to AccomplishmentsJames Polk's accomplishments in his short time in office reflected his hard work and political aggressiveness. "Polk's accomplishments were due in large measure to his readiness to exercise the Presidential power and his insistence on being the No. 1 man in his administration. To few Presidents have been vouchsafed that inflexible purpose to obtain clear-cut objectives which animated James K. Polk"(Morris "Great Presidential Decisions: State Papers that Changed the Course of History" 152). During Polk's term of office, the United States acquired over 800,000 square miles of western territory and extended its boundary to the Pacific Ocean. The Polk Administration also achieved economic objectives by lowering tariffs and establishing an independent Federal Treasury. His additional achievements included a treaty with New Granada (Colombia) resolving the problem of right-of-way for U.S. citizens across the Isthmus of Panama, establishment of a warehouse system that provided for the temporary retention of undistributed imports, and "the passage of the Walker Tariff Act of 1846, which lowered import duties and did much to pacify British public opinion that had been inflamed over the Oregon compromise of 1846 that established the international frontier at the 49th parallel" (Kestenbaum 5). Many of these measures improved the economy and also helped foreign trade; the reenactment of the independent treasury system in 1846 also helped in the solution of domestic financial problems.Expansion Policy and Manifest Destiny"Under James Knox Polk, the United States grew by more than a million...

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