Tuesday, June 6, 2017
A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent by Robert W. Merry
A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent by Robert W. Merry is a fascinating look at the four years of James K. Polk’s presidency (1845-1849). Often overlooked by both historians and non-historians alike, Polk accomplished more in four years than most presidents do in eight.
By far his greatest accomplishment was making the United States a continental power. After years of dissatisfying and often contentious joint rule with Great Britain in the Oregon Territory, Polk negotiated the current border between the US and Canada. Although his predecessor, John Taylor, laid the ground work for the annexation of the Republic of Texas into the Union, it was Polk who sealed the deal.
This led directly into the Mexican-American War, where the US seized much of the American southwest and California. Polk gave America geographical depth, and access to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. He laid the groundwork for some of the issues that would cause the Civil War (should slavery be permitted in the new territories) and America’s rise as a world power in the twentieth century.
A detailed and exacting book, A Country of Vast Designs can only further a reader’s understanding of our unique history.