Napoleon of the Stump | Teen Ink

Napoleon of the Stump

June 21, 2015
By Starfire420 BRONZE, Popes, Rhode Island
Starfire420 BRONZE, Popes, Rhode Island
4 articles 0 photos 2 comments

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"From Nashville came a dark horse riding up- He was James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump".
The eleventh President of the United States, Mr. James K. Polk was the epitome of a hard worker and the embodiment of modesty. In just four short years, James Polk expanded the U.S by 1.2 million square miles. He led the U.S. to success in the Mexican-American War and therefore guaranteed the annexation of Texas, obtained California with the Southwest and parts of Oregon, reduced tariffs and implemented the Independent U.S. Treasury, but despite all this, Mr. Polk kept his word and refused to run for reelection. Learning about Mr. Polk and his dedication to his goals has inspired me immensely. As I prepare for college and a hopefully successful career in scientific and medical research and discovery, if I could incorporate into my life’s goals the principles of one of our U.S. Presidents, I would choose Mr. James Polk.

The Mexican-American War was a risky move, and President Polk was bold to take the initiative. He ingeniously instigated Mexico into starting the war by sending troops down to the Nueces River and claiming that the Texas boundary was at the Rio Grande River. Eventually, Mexican forces cracked and attacked American troops, which led to Mr. Polk declaring war. The Mexican- American War was long and brutal, and possibly could have been avoided with better negotiation. Mr. Polk's decision wasn't perfect, but the way he carried through with it to the end was. Despite the daunting prospect of a long and bloody war, Mr. Polk refused to give up his stand on Texas and eventually guaranteed its annexation. Like President James Polk, I too hope to carry on, determined as ever, no matter what mistakes I might make, no matter what mistakes others influencing me may make, and no matter what uncontrollable obstacles may fall in my path to success.

Mr. Polk was not only a dreamer, but an achiever. When he set out to obtain California and parts of Oregon, he meant business. Through negotiation with Britain, Mr. Polk managed to secure the Oregon Treaty of 1846 and add half of Oregon to the U.S. Additionally, through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Polk acquired California and much of the Southwest, making America the expansive territory it is today. The only thing more admirable than Mr. Polk's daring dreams were his achievements of them. In my own dreams to research cures for medical illnesses and to further space travel, I too hope to not only dream big but also to achieve big, just like Mr. Polk.

Last but not least, Mr. Polk met his goals of reducing tariffs and implementing the Independent U.S. Treasury. By passing the Walker tariff of 1846, Mr. Polk kept tariff rates low and kept his promise to the South, and by establishing the Independent U.S. Treasury he ensured that government funds were kept separately from state and private funds. Mr. Polk definitely came a long way in his presidency, but never once forgot his promises to his homeland or fell to corruption. He remained honest and austere to the very end, in a true demonstration of devotion to his agenda. While I’m still a ways away from the goals I wish to reach, I definitely will incorporate this principle of Mr. Polk's-  a principle of commitment and authenticity, as I climb the ranks to my own aspirations.

"But precious few have mourned the passing of-Mister James K. Polk, our eleventh president-
Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump ". Mr. Polk was ambitious, successful, stalwart, and intelligent. However, President Polk is not renowned in U.S. history, even though his achievements are far greater than those of many more acclaimed presidents. Mr. Polk worked himself to death and could have readily won reelection, but he didn’t seek attention. James Polk did only his duty, and he did it well to the very end. I don't seek fame, but I have ambition and dedication. Just like Mr. Polk, I aspire to do only my duty and let fame seek out who it may, because as Mr. Polk has proved, achievements speak for themselves..

The author's comments:

Learning about Mr. Polk and his commitments to his goals in history class inspired me to incorporate his ambitions and successes into my own life agenda. I hope others find this piece as inspiring as I do. 

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