James Polk Characteristic

949 Words4 Pages
Though James Polk is one of our most unpopular presidents, historians rank him as one of the greatest presidents in America because, within a four year period he added California, new Mexico, Texas and most of the Oregon territory to the united states, greatly reduced tariffs, and oversaw the opening of the U.S. Naval Academy. Why if historians have Polk ranked as one of the greatest presidents, is he so unpopular? And how is he so much better then Theodore Roosevelt?
In addition to being ranked the greatest president, Polk was also the youngest, most successful presidential candidate up to that time. In essence, James Polk accomplished virtually all that he had pledged to the American people. He won a war, expanded the nation, cut tariffs, reestablished an independent treasury, and preserved an uneasy balance within the union. Polk was undeniably effective in his presidential efforts.
Despite his overwhelming accomplishments Polk is not cherished in the national memorial for a number of reasons. First, the Mexican War, while a military success, was debatable in its day. Many, including Whigs like Abraham Lincoln, painted it as an aggressive war waged to expand the political power of slavery. The history that followed gives way to those views. Secondly, we cannot avoid placing his tenure in the context of the Civil War that followed twelve years later. Territory gained from Mexico served to heighten national tensions regarding the expansion of slavery, thus paving the road
Get Access