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Book Cover
Author Merry, Robert W., 1946-

Title A country of vast designs : James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the conquest of the American continent / Robert W. Merry.

Published New York : Simon & Schuster, [2009]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  973.61092 POLK/ MERR    AVAILABLE
Edition 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed.
Physical description x, 576 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, map, portraits ; 25 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 479-550) and index.
Contents Introduction. Ritual of Democracy: The Emergence of an Expansionist President -- 1. Young Hickory: The Making of a Jackson Protege -- 2. Tennessee and Washington: The Rise and Fall of a Presidential Loyalist -- 3. The 1844 Election: Searching for a Means of Political Recovery -- 4. Texas: Dawn of a New Era -- 5. Baltimore: America's First Political Dark Horse -- 6. Polk vs. Clay: Answering the Question, "Who Is James K. Polk?" -- 7. The Victor: Preparing for the Mantle of Leadership -- 8. Taking Charge: America's Zest for Grand Ambitions -- 9. Annexation Complete: Diplomacy, Intrigue, and the Force of Politics -- 10. The United States and Oregon: "The People Here Are Worn Out by Delay" -- 11. The United States and Mexico: Divergent New World Cultures on a Path to War -- 12. Britain and Mexico: Playing with Prospects of a Dual War -- 13. The Twenty-ninth Congress: Polk Takes Command of the National Agenda -- 14. End of a Treaty: Diplomacy and Politics at War with Each Other -- 15. War: "Every Consideration of Duty and Patriotism" -- 16. Vagaries of War: "And May There Be No Recreant Soul to Fail or Falter Now" -- 17. Presidential Temperament: "I Prefer to Supervise the Whole Operations of the Government" -- 18. Wilmot's Proviso: Transformation of the War Debate -- 19. The War in the West: Patriotism, Duty, Adventure, and Glory -- 20. The New Face of War: "We Are Yet to Have a Long and Wearisome Struggle" -- 21. The Politics of Rancor: Constitutional Usurpation vs. Moral Treason -- 22. Dilatory Congress: The Challenge of Presidential Leadership -- 23. Veracruz and Beyond: Grappling with Mexico's Military Defiance -- 24. Scott and Trist: A Clash of Policy and Temperament -- 25. Mexico City: The Pivot of Personality -- 26. The Specter of Conquest: "Have We Conquered Peace? Have We Obtained a Treaty?" -- 27. Treaty: From Trist to Polk to the Senate -- 28. Peace: California, New Mexico, and the Union -- 29. Final Months: "Solemnly Impressed with the ... Emptiness of Worldly Honors" -- Epilogue: Legacy: The Price of Presidential Accomplishment.
Summary "When James K. Polk was elected president in 1844, the United States was locked in a bitter diplomatic struggle with Britain over the rich lands of the Oregon Territory, which included what is now Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Texas, not yet part of the Union, was threatened by a more powerful Mexico. And the territories north and west of Texas - what would become California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and part of Colorado - belonged to Mexico. When Polk relinquished office four years later, the country had grown by more than a third as all these lands were added. The continental United States, as we know it today, was established facing two oceans and positioned to dominate both." "In a one-term presidency, Polk completed the story of America's Manifest Destiny - extending its territory across the continent, from sea to sea, by threatening England and manufacturing a controversial and unpopular two-year war with Mexico that Abraham Lincoln, in Congress at the time, opposed as preemptive." "Robert Merry tells this story through powerful debates and towering figures - the outgoing President John Tyler and Polk's great mentor, Andrew Jackson; his defeated Whig opponent, Henry Clay; two famous generals, Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott; Secretary of State James Buchanan (who would precede Lincoln as president); Senate giants Thomas Hart Benton and Lewis Cass; Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun; and ex-president Martin Van Buren, like Polka Jackson protege but now a Polk rival." "This was a time of tremendous clashing forces. A surging antislavery sentiment was at the center of the territorial fight. The struggle between a slave-owning South and an opposing North was leading inexorably to Civil War. In a gripping narrative, Robert Merry illuminates a crucial epoch in U.S. history."--BOOK JACKET.
Subject Polk, James K. (James Knox), 1795-1849.
Presidents -- United States -- Biography.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1845-1849.
United States -- Territorial expansion -- History -- 19th century.
Variant Title James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the conquest of the American continent.
ISBN 9780743297431 : $30.00
0743297431 : $30.00