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Flowers left for James Polk
James Knox Polk: sir thanks for serving the presidency from 1845 to 1849, I believe that you were a strong one term, a strong one term president and a great commander in chief during the Mexican War. You served as the 17th Speaker of the House of Representatives (1835–1839) and Governor of Tennessee (1839–1841). Polk was the surprise (dark horse) candidate for president in 1844, defeating Henry Clay of the rival Whig Party by promising to annex Texas. Polk was a leader ofJacksonian Democracy during the Second Party System. Polk was the last strong pre–Civil War president, and he is the earliest of whom there are surviving photographs taken during a term in office. He is noted for his foreign policy successes. He threatened war with Britain over the issue of which nation owned the Oregon Country, then backed away and split the ownership of the region with Britain. When Mexico rejected American annexation of Texas, Polk led the nation to a sweeping victory in the Mexican-American War, which gave the United States most of its present Southwest. He secured passage of the Walker tariff of 1846, which had low rates that pleased his native South, and he established a treasury system that lasted until 1913. Polk oversaw the opening of the U.S. Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institution, the groundbreaking for the Washington Monument, and the issuance of the first postage stamps in the United States. He promised to serve only one term and did not run for reelection. Sadly, you had the shortest retirement of all Presidents at 103 days. He was the youngest former president to die in retirement at the age of 53. Along with George Washington, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, Calvin Coolidge, and Lyndon Johnson he is one of six presidents to have died while his direct successor was in office. He and his wife are buried in a tomb on the grounds of the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville, Tennessee. The tomb was moved to this location from their downtown Nashville mansion, Polk Place, in 1893. Thanks for everything remembering you today, happy birthday!
 Added: Nov. 2, 2013

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