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A supporter of President Andrew Jackson’s policies, he was sent to the Senate in 1837. He was the youngest senator at that time. Handsome, affable, and charming, Pierce made many friends in Congress, but his career there was otherwise undistinguished. Overshadowed by such orators as Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun, he seldom took part in debate. H. When the Mexican War broke out he enlisted in the Army as a private. Soon commissioned as a brigadier general, he served under Gen. Winfield Scott in the campaign against Mexico City.
His ancestors were ScotsIrish. The first to come to America settled in Maryland early in the 18th century. As the frontier moved westward, the Polks pioneered into North Carolina. In 1806 Samuel Polk, a prosperous farmer, moved his Polk’s ability as an orator led him naturally into politics. He was elected in 1823 to the Tennessee legislature. With the backing of his close friend Andrew Jackson, he ran for Congress in 1825, and his tireless campaign won over veteran politicians. He served 14 years in the House of Representatives.
The election centered on the issue of the bank, and the voters sided with Jackson. He easily defeated Henry Clay of the National Republican party, winning 219 electoral votes to Clay’s 49. The veto of the bank charter bill ignited a conflict over financial policy that persisted throughout Jackson’s second term. The prolonged struggle has been called the Bank War. Although the bank’s old charter still had three years to run, Jackson removed government funds from it and deposited them in state banks.