James Polk (1795-1849) of Tennessee actually died three months after leaving office — but due to his past loyalty to President Andrew Jackson, his southern heritage, his pro-Unionism, his opposition to the re-establishment of a Central Bank, and the uncanny similarities between his sudden fever / diarrhea illness which slowly killed President Harrison just eight years earlier, we are suspicious.
Polk was one of President Jackson’s most prominent supporters in the House of Representatives. During Jackson’s epic “Bank War” against Messrs. Biddle, Clay & Calhoun, Polk served as Jackson’s most vocal House ally in this proxy war against the London (Rothschild) banksters. Polk — a member of the House Ways and Means Committee — conducted investigations of the Second Bank and condemned a bill reauthorizing the bank’s charter. The bill passed Congress in 1832, but Jackson vetoed it. Congress, thanks in part to Congressman Polk’s heroic efforts, failed to override the veto. The bank died.
Like many Southerners, Polk, also a plantation and slave owner, favored low tariffs on imported goods, and initially sympathized with John C. Calhoun’s opposition to the current tariffs. But when the intriguer Calhoun started hinting at secession, Polk would have none of it and strongly sided with Jackson’s threats to use force — the Force Bill – against the South Carolina intriguers if Calhoun’s clique didn’t back down. The matter — which was a pretext all along — was eventually settled with a compromise tariff. Exactly as Jackson then predicted, “the next pretext will be slavery.”
* From Jackson’s 1832 “Proclamation to the People of South Carolina“
“Let me tell you, my countrymen, that you are deluded by men who are either deceived themselves or wish to deceive you. Mark under what pretenses you have been led on to the brink of insurrection and treason on which you stand!”
With the blessing and enthusiastic support of the retired Andrew Jackson, Polk was elected the 11th President in 1844. As he had promised, he would serve only one term and then retire. He left Washington in March 1849 for a triumphal tour of the South, that was to end in Nashville. James and Sarah Polk traveled down the Atlantic coast, and then westward throughout the Deep South. The former President and First Lady were enthusiastically received and banqueted by their southern brethren.
By the time they had reached Alabama, Polk was suffering from a bad cold. Several passengers on Polk’s riverboat died of what was said to be “cholera.” Polk became so ill that he had to go ashore and stay in a hotel. He stayed there for four days, appearing to get better. A doctor assured Polk he did not have cholera. Polk then made the final leg of the journey, arriving in Nashville in early April to a huge reception.
The Polks settled into their new home in Nashville, but two months later, the former president again fell ill, supposedly of cholera, again. Like Harrison, he suffered from bouts of bouts of violent vomiting and diarrhea — lingering for several days before dying on June 15, at the age of 53. Harrison may have had the shortest presidency, but Polk had the shortest retirement of any president.
* Conspiracy Theory: The same Calhoun & Clay cliques which tried to kill Andrew Jackson also had it in for the anti-Bank / pro Unionist Polk, his trusted disciple. Though he had just left office anyway, this was Polk’s payback for being Jackson’s man in Congress, and then the White House. Furthermore, any possibility of an ex-president Polk exerting “elder statesman” influence on politicians and the public (as Jackson had done after his retirement) was prevented. By the way, Jackson himself died early in Polk’s term, in June of 1845. Though he was 78, suspicions that he had been poisoned (by negligence or by design) by doctors have long persisted.