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James K. Polk and the Expansionist Impulse (Library of American Biography)
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Top Customer Reviews
Haynes' book is hardly the final word on Polk; he compresses the first thirty years of Polk's life into a single chapter, raising many questions that are then left unanswered. It is only when Polk emerges as one of Andrew Jackson's lieutenants in the House of Representatives that the narrative slows enough to allow for insights. Haynes sees Polk as the "consummate Jacksonian," serving as a loyal lieutenant and emerging as one of the foremost heirs to his legacy. Yet two successive defeats in races for the governorship of Tennessee dimmed his political star, and his name was not among those of the frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1844.
Nonetheless, Polk emerged from a deadlocked convention as the first "dark horse" nominee in American history. Hynes argues that the significance of the 1844 presidential convention lies in the embrace of territorial expansion as an issue that united a broad range of groups in a diverse country, which helped Polk defeat Henry Clay in the subsequent election. As president, Polk was a hands-on manager who carefully monitored every department of the executive branch. While viable with the small bureaucracy in the Washington of his day, this proved impractical when managing the far-flung war against Mexico.Read more ›
Polk is our most underrated president. He championed the idea of manifest destiny. He believed the United States was destined to own all the land from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Texas was annexed, and the Mexican War was fought. The treaty added California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The U.S. stretched from sea to shining sea. Polk was from Tennessee. He accomplished what he wanted and decided not to seek a second term. I rank him #6.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is simple, not scholarly. If you are looking for a seminal work on James K. Polk, look elsewhere. Read morePublished on October 24, 2008 by Hunter Starr
A short book written more as text book that about the life of Polk.
I was disappointed with the book.
We need more about James K. Polk. Read more