Imperialism: The Contributions Of James K. Polk

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When James K. Polk ran for president, he called for an expansion of states including Texas, California, and all of Oregon. At the time, Oregon was shared with Britain under The Treaty of 1818. Polk was tired of sharing the Oregon Territory and was willing to fight for it, Which gave him the slogan “54 40 or fight”. Once he won the election, Polk declared war on Great Britain. The Americans outnumbered Britain by the ratio 6-1. In June 1846, Britain surrendered, conflict was avoided and gave the Oregon Territory to the Americans. If James K. Polk didn’t run for president the Oregon Territory would still be shared with Britain because Polk’s strongest proposal was expanding the U.S Territory, he was willing to negotiate with Britain, and he followed through with his proposals unlike most presidents.

James K. Polk strongest proposal was expanding the U.S Territory. While running for president, the slogan that lead Polk to winning the election was “54 40 or fight”. 54 40 was the northern boundary line of Oregon, the area that Polk wanted an expansion for. Polk was a unknown candidate who came out of nowhere and won the election. Everyone would had voted for his opponent Henry Clay if Polk didn’t make his expansion proposal. James K. Polk not only seized the Oregon Territory in his term, he managed to seized over ⅓ of the U.S.

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Polk followed through with his proposals unlike most presidents. He not only conquered 54 40, being one of his proposals he seized the whole entire pacific coast and achieved more than intended. Also, At the time the U.S. was at war with the Mexicans, Polk himself was a bit hesitant and uneasy about going into another war since the US could barely afford both wars. Only Polk would have broken the treaty of 1818 and risk the US going into debt. Finally, James K. Polk expanded the US territory significantly, no other president after him expanded the US as much as Polk especially in the North West

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