This highly readable, well-researched, and tightly argued study focuses on the political abilities of President James K. Polk, whose aggressive foreign policies combined with a series of fortuitous circumstances to make him a major agent of Manifest Destiny. In four years, his administration set the path toward American empire by acquiring Texas, Oregon, California, and the Southwest, thereby spreading republican ideals as well as enhancing the nation's commercial capacity and securing its continental borders. (Howard Jones, research professory, University of Alabama)
Overshadowed by Jackson and Lincoln, Polk contributed almost half the continent to young America during his term in office. Thomas M. Leonard's account will enlighten those who have neglected him and confirm his importance to the course of U.S. history. Crowded within President Polk's one term are complicated issues emerging from the continental expansion of the United States. Leonard's thematic approach to the study of Polk's policies provides a clear narrative that is accessible to both students and the public. (Anna Kasten Nelson, distinguished historian in residence, American University)
Thomas M. Leonard provides handy summaries of each expansionist movement and a concise critical assessment of Polk's tactics and policies in accomplishing his programs. Students of American expansionism, sectionalism, and presidential politics will all benefit from this examination. (Kinley Brauer, University of Minnesota)
An excellent blend of political biography of Polk and topical discussion of the major expansionist issues of his presidency. A detailed chronology and an excellent bibliographic essay make this study highly useful for classroom purposes. (Don M. Coerver, Texas Christian University)
Thomas M. Leonard is distinguished professor and director of the International Studies Program at the University of North Florida.