Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America

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Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America

Author: Walter R. Borneman
Publisher: Random House
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 448
Cover Price: $ 30.00

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In Polk, Walter R. Borneman gives us the first complete and authoritative biography of a president often overshadowed in image but seldom outdone in accomplishment. James K. Polk won the election of 1844 and occupied the White House for only four years, from 1845 to 1849, but he plotted and attained a formidable agenda: He fought for and won tariff reductions, reestablished an independent Treasury, and, most notably, brought Texas into the Union, bluffed Great Britain out of the lion’s share of Oregon, and wrested California and much of the Southwest from Mexico. On reflection, these successes seem even more impressive, given the contentious political environment of the time.

In this unprecedented, long-overdue warts-and-all look at Polk’s life and career, we have a portrait of an expansionist president and decisive statesman who redefined the country he led, and we are reminded anew of the true meaning of presidential accomplishment and resolve.

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Background Information

James Knox Polk was the eleventh president of the United States, leading the country during the Mexican-American War. The White House is the official residence in Washington DC of the President of the United States. After Texas gained independence, its annexation to the United States created diplomatic problems with Mexico and internal controversy over slavery. The Mexican-American War was widely unpopular at home and gained vast new territories while leaving domestic issues like slavery unsettled.