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In the campaign of 1844, the Whig party had Henry Clay as their candidate and the Democrats had James Knox Polk. The key issues of this campaign were western expansion and the spread of slavery.

Polk favored the annexation of Texas, Clay opposed. The southerners felt that Clay wanted to stop the spread of slavery, so Clay lost to Polk. Thus making James Knox Polk the eleventh President of the United States.

James Knox Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina on November 2, 1845. His Vice-President was George Dallas. Polk only served one term as President.

After the election, and Polk became President he focused his political program on the nations destiny to rule the North American continent. The belief was that it was inevitable that the United States government would control North America. Polk believed that the United States was on a devine mission and that one day the nation would create an empire for liberty, from New York all the way to California.

Because the annexation of Texas was completed during Tyler’s last day of office, Polk turned his attention to the Oregon territory. Both the United States and Great Britain, had longtime claims to the Oregon Territory. Polk at first refused to negotiate with the British, he then soon realized he had no choice. As a result a new boundary was set at the forty-ninth parallel, giving the United States what is now Oregon and Washington.

After the settling of the dispute in the west, Polk turned his attention to the Mexican territory of southwest California. The Mexicans wanted no part of giving up these territories, so Polk asked for a declaration of war from Congress, it was granted. The Mexican War became the central political event of the Polk presidency.

During the 1844 campaign, Polk had promised if elected, he would serve only one term as president. He was a very popular president and with no doubt would have won the election of 1848. But, Polk was a man of his word and retired in 1849.