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James Knox Polk

James Knox Polk
George Peter Alexander Healy, 15 Jul 1813 - 24 Jun 1894
James Knox Polk, 2 Nov 1795 - 15 Jun 1849
January-February 1846
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 77.5 × 64.8 × 2.2cm (30 1/2 × 25 1/2 × 7/8")
Frame: 100.3 x 87 x 10.2cm (39 1/2 x 34 1/4 x 4")
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Chair
Costume\Dress Accessory\Neckwear\Tie
James Knox Polk: Male
James Knox Polk: Law and Crime\Lawyer
James Knox Polk: Politics and Government\US Congressman\Speaker of the House
James Knox Polk: Politics and Government\Governor\Tennessee
James Knox Polk: Politics and Government\President of US
James Knox Polk: Politics and Government\US Congressman\Tennessee
James Knox Polk: Politics and Government\State Legislator\Tennessee
United States\District of Columbia\Washington
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Museum Purchase, Gallery Fund) The Corcoran Gallery of Art, one of the country’s first private museums, was established in 1869 to promote art and American genius. In 2014 the Works from the Corcoran Collection were distributed to institutions in Washington, D.C.
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
Eleventh president, 1845–1849
The life and career of James K. Polk reflected the country’s westward shift. His path followed the frontier as he moved from his birthplace in North Carolina to Tennessee. Polk, like most Americans in the nineteenth century, favored westward expansion and believed that settlers were destined to move across North America. As president, he acquired more than a million square miles of territory for the United States, in part by fomenting the Mexican-American War. As one of the most consequential presidents in American history, the vast expansion of territory opened up the question of slavery’s future, an issue that sparked conflict during the period leading up to the Civil War. Driven and determined, Polk took office with a limited agenda, accomplished all of it, and left office, as he planned, after only one term.
11o presidente, 1845–1849
La vida y la carrera de James K. Polk reflejan el desplazamiento del país hacia el oeste. Su infancia siguió la ruta de la frontera desde su natal Carolina del Norte hasta Tennessee. Al igual que la mayoría de los estadounidenses del siglo XIX, Polk estaba a favor de la expansión hacia el oeste y creía que el destino de los colonos era extenderse por toda Norteamérica. Como presidente, adquirió más de un millón de millas cuadradas de territorio para Estados Unidos, en parte fomentando la Guerra de Estados Unidos y México. Polk fue uno de los presidents de mayor impacto en la historia del país: la vasta expansión territorial puso sobre el tapete el futuro de la esclavitud, asunto que generó conflictos que culminarían en la Guerra Civil. De carácter resuelto y diligente, Polk asumió la presidencia con una agenda limitada, la cumplió en su totalidad y, tal como lo planeó, dejó el cargo después de un solo término.
Thomas Barbour Bryan [1828-1906], 1846-1879; Purchased by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1879; Gift to NPG, 2019.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
America's Presidents (Reinstallation September 2017)
On View
NPG, South Gallery 240