A country of vast designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the conquest of the American continent

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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 W. 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 Polk a 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, Merry illuminates a crucial epoch in U.S. history.
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9780743297431
9781400144952
9781400114955
9781400194957
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Grouped Work ID 7dc97257-21cf-f288-d0a8-cbfedee3c11c
full_title country of vast designs james k polk the mexican war and the conquest of the american continent
author merry robert w
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-12-18 09:04:37AM

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auth_author2 Prichard, Michael, Pritchard, Michael.
author Merry, Robert W., 1946-
author2-role Prichard, Michael|Narrator, Pritchard, Michael., hoopla digital.
author_display Merry, Robert W
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display_description

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 W. 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 Polk a Jackson protégé 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, Merry illuminates a crucial epoch in U.S. history.

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subject_facet Manifest Destiny, 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
title_display A country of vast designs : James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the conquest of the American continent
title_full A Country of Vast Designs James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent, A country of vast designs : James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the conquest of the American continent / Robert W. Merry, A country of vast designs [electronic resource] : James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the conquest of the American continent / Robert W. Merry, A country of vast designs [sound recording] : James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the conquest of the American continent / Robert W. Merry
title_short A country of vast designs :
title_sub James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the conquest of the American continent
topic_facet History, Nonfiction