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From being a lawyer as well as a Tennessee congress man, James Knox Polk turns out to be the "dark horse" candidate in the 1844 election for the Democratic Party. After the elections he narrowly defeated Whig Clay and therefore succeeded John Tyler as the president of the United States of America. One of the major events that characterise President Polk administration was the Mexican war, which was a controversial occurrence that nearly fit Polk's expansion policies1.

During the Polk administration, over 1.2 million square miles were added to the United States and thereby increasing it to over fifty percent. It is this addition that led to the creation of three major foreign policies matters that were addressed by Polk. These included the Mexican war, the annexation of Texas, as well as the negotiations over Oregon territory with the Great Britain. The above issues were inherited by President Polk from the previous administration of Tyler. Tyler had struggled with Congress over ways for annexing Texas, which had subsisted as the independent Lone Star nation ever since winning its independence from Mexico in 1836. Tyler and Congress had approved that Texas would be accorded the occasion to vote for annexation, and therefore Polk sustained this approach. The Texas assembly ultimately approved annexation and wrote a state statute, and which was approved by voters in a general referendum. In December 1845 the U.S. Congress concluded the operation by acknowledging Texas as the twenty-eighth state2.

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After the annexation, there resulted territorial disputes that led into war between Mexico and the United States. For a number of years relationships between the United States and Mexico had been rock-strewn, first and foremost for the reason that the United States had made monetary claims in opposition to the Mexican government. Since its 1820's independence from Spain, Mexico had had a succession of unsteady governments, and distant nationals frequently had lost possessions throughout the resulting revolutions. Those persons and their administrations stuck claims in opposition to the Mexican government. By mid 1840's the claims had resulted into millions of dollars. This argument over claims had disagreeable relations involving the United States and Mexico, as well as the annexation of Texas brought issues to a crisis3.

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As a component of the annexation accord, the United States government had agreed to identify Texas's assertion to the Rio Grande boundary as well as to offer armed forces protection to protect that boundary. On the other hand, on its part Mexico still had the hope of winning Texas back, the United States annexation, in addition to the allegation of the Rio Grande boundary which together compelled Mexico to break off all the diplomatic links with Washington. In addition Mexico accused the United States for initiating the war4.

In reaction, Polk sent a diplomat to agree with the Mexican government, by making an offer to purchase California and New Mexico and renounce U.S. claims against Mexico in retaliation for acknowledgment of the Rio Grande boundary. The Mexican government declined to agree, and this led to skirmishes breaking out by spring of 1846 along the border. Polk put up a request that Congress had to pronounce war, which it did by an irresistible margin. Although the United States lacked an influential specialized army, volunteers signed up in troops. It after the war lasted until September 1847, when the Mexican government decided to go into peace talks. In the consequential agreement, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico decided to identify the Rio Grande as the border line of Texas and to relinquish Upper California as well as New Mexico to the United States; for its part, the United States settled to give up all claims against Mexico and to reimburse the Mexican government $15 million.

The third main foreign policy subject requiring Polk's consideration was the disagreement involving the United States and Great Britain over the Oregon area, which stretched "from the northern boundary of California to the Alaska panhandle, including what is now Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia".5 Although both countries claimed the area, they had earlier decided in 1818 to occupy it together, with the prerequisite that any party could cease the accord with a year's notice. The United States had on its part constantly requested for the issue to be resolved through the extension of the forty-ninth parallel border that existed between the two countries east of the Rocky Mountains.

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Compromise of 1850

The compromise of the 1980 is regarded a sequence of five major bills and whose main purpose was to stave off some sectional strife. The main intention of the compromise was to tackle with the rampart spread of slavery to several territories so that to maintain both the interest of the southerners as well as the northerners. The content of the five bills were that for once California was to be entered and be recognized as a free state6.

The provision of the second bell were that the states of new Mexico as well as Utah were to be each allowed to exercise the popular sovereignty in deciding against slavery. In other words, it was upon the people to decide whether the states would continue to be slave or free. The third bill made provisions that the republic of Texas had to give the land it had claimed in the current day Mexico as well as receive a $10 million for it to settle its debts with Mexico7. Inclusive of the five bills was also the abolishment of slave trade in the renowned district of Columbia. Through the enactment of the fugitive slave act, any federal official who did not take part in arresting runaway slaves was subject to a pay fine. This therefore became one of the most controversial sections of the 1850 compromise and led to many abolitionists trying to increase their efforts against it.

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