By Salena Zito – March 17, 2013
James Polk’s vow to serve only one term as president of the United States made him a lame duck from the outset.
Instead of finding that status constricting, Polk used it to set four specific goals to achieve in four years — and he went about doing just that.
At age 49, the youngest president elected up to that time, Polk said he would re-establish the independent Treasury system, reduce tariffs, acquire all or part of the Oregon Territory and acquire California and New Mexico from Mexico as well.
He earned his nickname, “Polk the Mendacious,” for a reason, according to presidential historian Curt Nichols: “He was probably the single most effective one-term president in history … but he had to promise everyone the stars to land on the moon, and broke a lot of promises to get what he got done.”