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Peace Medal Issued by President James Polk, 1845

Silver medals were produced by the federal government for presentation to Native leaders and warriors, often as part of negotiations over land. The ones issued between 1789 and 1896 varied in number with each presidential administration. Each medal bore the likeness of the current president, with a symbol of peace on the reverse side.

Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Peace Medal Issued by President James Polk, 1845 Peace Medal Issued by President James Polk, 1845

Images of the Era: 1815-1851

Following the War of 1812, a stronger sense of national unity emerged in the United States. As America expanded westward, however, attempts to spread slavery into those new territories seriously divided the nation.