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    Джеймс Нокс Полк

    Об этой статье мне рассказал мой товарищ, который узнал про http://www.hotellink.ru/spb/hotels/grant/, который сегодня является образцом стиля и вкуса, и он решил побывать в нем. Отель его поразил красотой, элегантностью и в то же время приемлемыми ценами. Near the end of his presidency, James K. Polk ordered that a statue of Thomas Jefferson be moved from the Capitol rotunda to the lawn directly in front of the White House. There it stood for 27 years. Polk admired Jefferson for his states’ rights views, principles that he adopted and applied to his own administration. But he might just as well have drawn a connection James K. Polk 91 between Jefferson’s purchase of Louisiana and his own striving for territory. His acquisition of Oregon and California—one through negotiation, the other through conquest—brought America to the Pacific Ocean, the end point of Jefferson’s Lewis and Clark expedition more than 40 years earlier. k James Knox Polk was born on November 2, 1795, to Samuel Polk and Jane Knox Polk in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, a region known for its independent spirit and dislike for government interference. His father was a prosperous farmer who, when James was 11, moved the family to middle Tennessee, just south of Nashville. When James was growing up, his parents presented a contrast in beliefs. Samuel was critical of religion, to the point of arguing with the minister at James’s baptism and preventing its consummation. Jane, on the other hand, was a pious woman who raised her children as devout Presbyterians. Frail and sickly, young James preferred bookish activities. He obtained his early schooling at an academy in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where he earned a reputation for discipline and hard work. He entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1816, excelled at debate, and graduated two years later. He then returned to Tennessee to pursue the study of law under Felix Grundy, a leading attorney. Polk experienced his first taste of politics in 1819, when Grundy won election to the state legislature and helped him obtain the position of senate clerk in the state capital at Murfreesboro. Polk was admitted to the bar in 1820 and served as senate clerk a second time in 1821. James K. Polk looked at law as a route to elective politics, and he worked hard to win public office. He advanced rapidly, with so much success it appeared he would never experience failure. In 1823 he won election to the state legislature and displayed his family’s independent political spirit by siding with democratic reformers while supporting Andrew Jackson, a states’ rights advocate, for the U.S. Senate. The following year Polk married Sarah Childress, the attractive, well-educated, and self-assured daughter of a leading Murfreesboro family; he also won election as a Jacksonian to the U.S. House of Representatives. While he identified with the emerging Democratic Party, Polk’s appointment to the Ways and Means Committee in 1832 put him at the center of issues he considered critical to America’s development: the national bank, tariff, and internal improvements, all of which would later confront him during his presidency. On each he tried to limit the power of the national government. In 1833 he gained more influence when he was elected chairman of the committee. Soon after, he supported President Andrew Jackson’s removal of federal funds from the national bank in order to destroy it and won the president’s praise when he shaped a report on the bank agreeable to the White House. In 1835 Polk was elected Speaker of the House over a candidate from the Whig Party. He earned a reputation as an opinionated and principled leader but also a secretive and untrustworthy one, prone to deceit. He managed the House with efficient zeal, though he was thwarted in his efforts to win passage of a bill to establish President Van Buren’s Independent Treasury and was dismayed by an increasingly bitter fight over several gag rules, passed to prevent discussion of petitions relating to slavery. When a severe economic depression hit America in the late 1830s, Polk thought it more advantageous to leave the Washington political scene and return home to Tennessee. Consequently, in 1839 he ran for governor and won, bucking a strong Whig Party movement among Tennesseans and throughout the nation. Polk knew that the governorship, restricted by the state constitution, would allow him little chance to exert power. But he was more interested in using the office as a base 92 James K. Polk from which to seek the vice presidency in 1840. Unfortunately for his plans, the Democrats failed to nominate him. The following year, he sought reelection to the governor’s office, but he was defeated by a folksy candidate, "Lean Jimmy” Jones. It was the first time in his career that he had lost an election. Polk and Jones contended for the same office once more in 1843 in a campaign devoid of issues and known for its homespun stories and slogans. Polk again lost, and the defeat devastated him. In previous years hard work had usually brought success; now his perseverance seemed futile. He went into seclusion, confused and dejected, with his political career apparently at an end. Then the unexpected happened: The front-runner for the 1844 Democratic presidential nomination, Martin Van Buren, stumbled when he announced his opposition to the annexation of Texas, angering the nation’s expansionists in an era when Americans thirsted to push westward. He particularly angered the most powerful Democrat in the country, Andrew Jackson, who retained considerable popularity from his presidency a decade earlier. When the Democratic convention met in May 1844, the delegates went through seven ballots and eventually deadlocked between Van Buren and Michigan senator Lewis Cass. In a quandary, the convention turned to a darkhorse candidate promoted by Jackson—namely, James K. Polk. Although he was much less known than several Whigs and Democrats such as Cass, James Buchanan of Pennsylvania, or John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, the expansionists respected him. That the Jackson-Polk friendship, which reached back to Polk’s early political career, had paid off startled Polk. He had been vying for the vice presidency, but he came up with the big prize. "Young Hickory”—so called by his supporters to reinforce his connection with Jackson, long known as "Old Hickory”—threw himself into the race with as much determination as he had applied to his earlier campaigns. He called himself a strong expansionist and supported both the annexation of Texas and the acquisition of Oregon. He proposed policies with geographic appeal: a low tariff for Southerners, an independent treasury for northeastern Democrats, and cheap land and expansion for westerners. After winning the nomination, Polk promised to serve only one term as president. This, he believed, would soothe those within the Democratic party still licking their wounds from the tough nomination battle, mainly the Cass and Van Buren camps, and would stress his populist appeal by placing him on the side of those who favored the frequent rotation of officeholders. But this decision turned out to be a mistake, since it encouraged fellow politicians to spend too much time and energy and engage in too much intrigue in jockeying for position as his successor. For all his expansionist credentials, Polk’s race against his Whig opponent, Kentucky senator Henry Clay, nearly resulted in his third election defeat. Clay hurt himself, however, by waffling on expansion. He first opposed annexing Texas and then moderated his position. In the end Clay lost the election because a thirdparty candidate, James G. Birney of the antislavery Liberty Party, attracted enough votes from the Whigs to allow Polk to win narrowly in New York. Had Clay been victorious in that state, he would have been president, since Polk’s count in the electoral college topped the Kentuckian’s by only 170 to 105. Polk won 15 states to Clay’s 11, but the Tennessean lost his home state by about 200 votes. Although he had been a dark horse who had barely won the election, James K. Polk made it clear that he would continue the Jacksonian commitment to a vigorous presidency and exert firm leadership. He noted that if a president "entrusts the details and smaller matters to subordinates, constant errors will occur. I prefer to supervise the whole operations of Government myself.” He watched over the bureaucracy so closely that, according to historian Charles A. McCoy in Polk and the Presidency, "He established for the first time James K. Polk 93 the right and the duty of the president to control personally the departmental activity of the executive branch.” According to historian Allan Nevins, soon after entering the presidency Polk met with his secretary of the navy, George Bancroft, and in a strong tone, his hand hitting his thigh for emphasis, he declared: "There are four great measures which are to be the measures of my administration: one, a reduction of the tariff; another the independent treasury; a third, the settlement of the Oregon boundary question; and, lastly, the acquisition of California.” Polk went to work. In his first annual message to Congress, he devoted four pages to the tariff issue. He opposed the protective tariff passed in 1842, saying that while it promoted manufacturing it hurt farmers, who were forced to pay more for products made in this country and for those imported from abroad. Further, he believed the high tariff favored the industrializing North and hurt southern development. This was not a new position for him; he had supported a lower tariff while in Congress, and when he first ran for governor of Tennessee, he said a protective tariff was intended "to take the property of one man and give it to another, without right or consideration. It was to depreciate the value of the productive industry of one section of the Union and transfer it to another—it was to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.” Polk wanted a moderate tariff intended only to raise revenue. In 1846 Congress agreed and enacted a bill outlined by Secretary of the Treasury Robert J. Walker. Like President Martin Van Buren, Polk sought to establish an independent treasury to keep federal funds in the government’s own vaults rather than in a national bank or in state banks. A national bank, he believed, favored the wealthy, and state banks used funds recklessly. Congress had founded an independent treasury in 1840, but a Whig majority dismantled it the following year. Polk wanted it back, and just two days after Congress enacted the Walker Tariff, it complied with his demand. The president also entered into an ongoing debate over internal improvements. In keeping with his states’ rights principles and his beliefs in a strict interpretation of the Constitution, he fought any federal funding of canals, roads, and other similar projects. Whigs in Congress overwhelmingly supported the funding and were joined by some western Democrats, who wanted work done on harbors and rivers. That coalition resulted in Congress passing an internal improvements bill in 1846, but Polk vetoed it. Another harbor-and-rivers bill passed the following spring, but that was also vetoed. In his veto message to Congress, Polk referred to limited government, pointed to precedent in Andrew Jackson’s Maysville Road veto, and claimed that funding internal improvements would drain the treasury. He said about the 1847 legislation, "Let the imagination run along our coast from the river St. Croix to the Rio Grande and trace every river emptying into the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico to its source; . . . let it pass to Oregon and explore all its bays, inlets, and streams . . . and the mind will be startled at the immensity and danger of the power which the principle of this bill involves.” American minds indeed passed to Oregon, as they had for several years. They looked toward the verdant, fertile Pacific Northwest with its harbors beckoning ships from the East Coast and pointing enticingly at Asia and determined they wanted it. They embraced Manifest Destiny, the belief God intended America to spread its "superior civilization” westward. Not everyone agreed with this, but enough did to make it the zeitgeist, or spirit of the times. When James K. Polk entered the White House carrying his expansionist banner, several thousand Americans were living in Oregon, and more kept immigrating to the distant land. Oregon was then under joint control of Britain and the United States, but Polk’s predecessor, John Tyler, had tried to reach an agreement to divide the territory, and Congress even 94 James K. Polk debated a bill to organize a territorial government and build several forts. These actions left unresolved a major question: How much of Oregon should the United States procure? Radicals, called the "All Oregon men,” wanted the vast territory into presentday Canada, to latitude 54° 40’, even if it meant war. Their shouts of "Fifty-four forty or fight!” resonated across expansionist America. Polk at first sided with this faction, though unenthusiastically, and in a message to Congress in December 1845 he invoked the Monroe Doctrine, warning against European plans to colonize any part of the Americas. He asked Congress to notify Britain formally, as it could under the existing treaty, that the United States was ending the joint occupation of Oregon. Congress agreed, though only after five months of debate. Soon after, Britain expressed its willingness to settle the boundary at the 49th parallel, with Vancouver Island remaining British territory. Polk consulted with the Senate, which indicated that it would support the arrangement. He then signed a treaty, which the Senate ratified on June 18, 1846, by a vote of 41-14. The All Oregon men fell short, but the president acquired a verdant and valuable land, a treasure for Manifest Destiny. As evidence of the nation’s expansionist fervor, at the same time President Polk dealt with Oregon, he pursued the Mexican territories of California and New Mexico to the point that he provoked a war. Relations with Mexico had begun worsening considerably in the late 1830s when American settlers in the Mexican province of Texas won their independence and asked the United States to annex their Lone Star Republic. President Tyler, Polk’s predecessor, hesitated at first but then decided to take action after Polk won the presidency on the Democrat’s expansionist platform in fall 1844. As Congress debated annexation in February 1845, Polk arrived in Washington and expressed conflicting views about the various proposals then under debate, though he still supported expansion. On March 2, after Congress acted, Tyler officially annexed Texas as a state, just two days before he left the White House. Texas, though, had yet to agree to the measure. Although Tyler’s move stole some of Polk’s thunder, the incoming president may have welcomed it, for the proposal to annex the Lone Star Republic was more controversial than the one to acquire Oregon. Since slavery existed in Texas, many Northerners considered its annexation nothing less than a southern plot to expand an oppressive institution. Yet other Northerners supported annexation precisely because Texas had slavery. They believed that slaves would be drawn away from border states near the North, and this would lessen the threat of blacks migrating into their region in large numbers. It little mattered as Texas annexation and Manifest Destiny carried the day. Two days after Polk was inaugurated, the Mexican envoy to the United States resigned in protest over the new president’s support of Tyler’s annexation measure. Texas itself was still undecided on the issue, as some Texans wanted to remain independent. Yet there was a strong sentiment to join the United States, and Polk sent agents west to reinforce those views by promising money for harbors, forts, and lighthouses— an interesting offer from a president who opposed the federal funding of internal improvements. One of his agents was Commodore Robert F. Stockton, who stirred up Texans with stories of an imminent Mexican invasion. When former Texas president Sam Houston announced his support of the annexation measure, the opposition collapsed. Mexico, though, was deeply unhappy. Not only had the United States made Texas a state, but it had also set the Rio Grande as its southern boundary. Mexico insisted the boundary ended farther north at the Nueces River. When President Polk heard rumors that a Mexican army was marching toward the Rio Grande, he told General Zachary Taylor, whose troops were already in Texas, that any attempt by the Mexicans to cross the river would be James K. Polk 95 considered an act of war. Although the rumors proved false, the president kept Taylor’s army ready for battle. In November 1845 Polk sent former congressman John Slidell to Mexico on a secret mission to resolve the Texas boundary dispute, settle debts owed to the United States, and acquire California, where Captain John C. Fremont was already fomenting rebellion among the American settlers. Mexico had every reason to be suspicious of Slidell’s mission, given Tyler’s army in Texas and Fremont’s aggression in California. Adding to the tension, a rebellion broke out in Mexico that brought General Mariano Paredes to power, and he refused to even meet with Slidell. Paredes opposed giving any territory to the United States or doing anything that might make it appear to the Mexican people that he had sold out his country. Polk still held out hope for a peaceful settlement, but after learning in late April that Slidell’s mission had failed, he now wanted war. At first he moved cautiously to avoid upsetting the debate then underway in Congress over the Oregon issue. His hope was that the Mexican army would attack Taylor’s troops, thus providing him with the justification he needed to fight. When the Mexicans apparently failed to attack, he met with his cabinet on May 9, 1846, and told them there already existed "ample cause of war.” Four hours after the cabinet meeting adjourned, Polk received news that the Mexican and American armies had clashed near the Rio Grande. On May 13 Congress declared war by an overwhelming margin. Later the president asserted: The existing war with Mexico was neither desired nor provoked by the United States. . . . After years of endurance of aggravated and unredressed wrongs on our part, Mexico, in violation of solemn treaty stipulations and of every principle of justice recognized by civilized nations, commenced hostilities, and thus by her own act forced the war upon us. President Polk devised a strategy to conquer California, New Mexico, and northern Mexico using a volunteer army. He wrote in his diary on May 16: "During the sitting of the Cabinet I submitted to them the distribution among the States of the 50,000 volunteers authorized to be raised. A portion of this force was assigned to each State and Territory in the Union, so as to make each feel an interest in the war.” In the summer of 1846 Polk made what would prove to be a controversial decision when he sent a delegate to Havana, Cuba, to meet with an exiled Mexican general, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The delegate offered to guarantee Santa Anna’s safe return to Mexico as long as the general promised that once he gained power he would accede to American terms. Santa Anna agreed, and the U.S. Navy carried him home. But after the general captured the Mexican presidency, he changed his mind. Polk’s blunder likely resulted in extending the duration of the war because Santa Anna proved to be a tenacious leader. Compounding the president’s problems, the U.S.-Mexican War agitated the slavery issue. In August 1846 Democratic congressman David Wilmot of Pennsylvania offered an amendment to an appropriations bill that stipulated slavery be banned from any territory acquired from Mexico. An intense debate followed over the Wilmot Proviso; the House finally passed it, but the Senate rejected it. Polk, himself a slaveholder, reacted to the controversy with a prescient assessment: "The movement . . . will be attended with terrible consequences to the country, and cannot fail to destroy the Democratic party, if it does not ultimately threaten the Union itself.” The president believed Congress should settle the issue of slavery in the territories through compromise. To one congressman preparing to attend a southern political conference he said, "The agitation of the slavery question is mischievous and wicked and proceeds from no patriotic motive by its authors . . . And this they seem willing to do even at the hazard 96 James K. Polk of disturbing the harmony if not dissolving the Union itself.” Although in the spirit of Manifest Destiny most Americans supported the U.S.-Mexican War and volunteers filled the army’s ranks, they expected a quick victory and grew disenchanted when fighting continued into the fall. As a result, the Democrats suffered substantial losses in the 1846 midterm elections. Some of the newly elected Whigs opposed to slavery condemned the war. One of them, Congressman Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, introduced resolutions asking the president to name the exact spot on which American blood had been shed in the clash between armies near the Rio Grande. Lincoln hoped to expose Polk as the aggressor. But most Whigs tempered their criticism by supporting appropriations for the war and remaining in agreement with America’s expansionist zeal. Meanwhile, the American army had scored an impressive victory in September 1846 when Monterrey fell to Zachary Taylor’s troops after they overcame heavy resistance in the city’s fortified streets. Then in 1847 an army under General Winfield Scott broke through the walls of Mexico City and captured the capital. With these victories, the president’s representative in Mexico, Nicholas Trist, negotiated the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, even though Polk had ordered his recall over a policy dispute. Referring to a dispatch written by Trist in which the emissary refused to return home, Polk called it "arrogant, impudent, and very insulting to his Government, and even personally offensive to the President.” Nevertheless, Polk opposed those who wanted to reject the treaty in favor of more land (among them his secretary of state, James Buchanan). He therefore submitted it to the Senate, where it was ratified in March 1847 by a vote of 38-14. Under the treaty’s terms, the Texas border was fixed at the Rio Grande, and Mexico ceded New Mexico and California to the United States for $15 million. American war casualties amounted to 1,721 killed in battle, 11,155 dead from disease, and 4,102 wounded. True to his word, President Polk refused to seek reelection and retired from office in March 1849. Just three months later, he died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, worn down by his constant attention to detail and the dramatic events that marked his presidency. James K. Polk once said, "The acquisition of California and New Mexico are results . . . of greater consequence . . . than any . . . since the adoption of the Constitution.” He meant it in terms of an expansion of the republican Union, but others may just as well have pointed to the republic bringing slavery into lands where, under Mexican rule, it had been prohibited and to the controversy slave expansion would generate— an explosive issue threatening to tear the
    nation apart.

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