GOVERNOR JAMES KNOX POLK PAPERS, 1839-1841

The papers of the gubernatorial administration of James Knox Polk (1795-1849) reflect the political turmoil evident in the State of Tennessee during the mid-to-late 1830’s. This political battle was between the Whig Party, which had taken control of the State House in 1834, and the Jacksonian Democrats. Polk was persuaded by the State Democratic elite to return to Tennessee from his seat in Congress, and run for Governor in 1838, against the incumbent Whig, Newton Cannon. Polk won the election, and was inaugurated on October 14, 1839. The State Legislature was also controlled by the Democrats, and it proceeded to oust the Whig-elected U.S. Senators from Tennessee, Hugh Lawson White and Ephraim H. Foster.