From the site:
James Knox Polk ( November 2 , 1795 - June 15 , 1849 ) was the 11th ( 1845 - 1849 ) President of the United States .
Born in North Carolina in 1795 , James Polk was studious and hard working. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1818 , became a lawyer , and entered politics . Polk was a member of the United States House of Representatives ( 1825 - 1839 ), also serving as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives ( 1835 - 1839 ), and Governor of Tennessee ( 1839 - 1841).
Democrats nominated dark horse candidate Polk on the ninth ballot of the Democratic National Convention after party favorite Martin Van Buren lost the bid because of his opposition to annexing Texas , a position deemed unacceptable by Southerners and by former president Andrew Jackson .
Told of his nomination in a letter, Polk penned the reply: "It has been well observed that the office of President of the United States should neither be sought nor declined. I have never sought it, nor should I feel at liberty to decline it, if conferred upon me by the voluntary suffrages of my fellow citizens."