Nevertheless, James' mother "stamped her rigid orthodoxy on James, instilling lifelong Calvinistic traits of self-discipline, hard work, piety, individualism, and a belief in the imperfection of human nature," according to James A. In 1803, Ezekiel Polk led four of his adult children and their families to the Duck River area in what is now Maury County, Tennessee; Samuel Polk and his family followed in 1806.
Samuel became a county judge, and the guests at his home included Andrew Jackson, who had already served as a judge and in Congress.
Polk suffered from frail health as a child, a particular disadvantage in a frontier society.
He secured a substantial reduction of tariff rates with the Walker tariff of 1846.
The same year, he achieved his other major goal, re-establishment of the Independent Treasury system. Bailey says that during the Mexican war, "Polk was an energetic and indefatigable war leader, and he emerged, partly through rare good luck, with uninterrupted success.
Polk's roommate was William Dunn Moseley, who became the first Governor of Florida.
Polk joined the Dialectic Society where he took part in debates, became its president, and learned the art of oratory.
He was re-elected clerk in 1821 without opposition, and continued to serve until 1822.
In June 1820, he was admitted to the Tennessee bar, and his first case was to defend his father against a public fighting charge; he secured his release for a one-dollar fine.
His father took him to see prominent Philadelphia physician Dr. The journey was broken off by James's severe pain, and Dr.
Ephraim Mc Dowell of Danville, Kentucky, operated to remove them. The operation was successful, but it might have left James impotent or sterile, as he had no children. His father offered to bring him into one of his businesses, but he wanted an education and enrolled at a Presbyterian academy in 1813.