Jennie: James Polk

A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the Conquest of the American Continent, by Robert W. Merry

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this biography, but I was pleasantly surprised. It covered both his personal life (I would’ve liked more though) and his political life – and both lives were interesting to me.

He never had children, possibly due to an illness he had as a child, but he and his wife were pretty much the sweetest Presidential couple since Abigail and John Adams. I want to see if I can find a book or two about their relationship to get more a deeper understanding and insight.

The one thing I found most fascinating about his political life is how he went into the presidential elections saying he was only interested in sitting for one term. Even more interesting to me is that he stuck to that plan. He really accomplished a lot during his four years, but his actions weren’t always popular. Expansion of the country was a very, very important thing for Polk and he didn’t let much sidetrack him from that ambition.

This biography focused on the expansion aspect of his political career, but I felt it was too long and dry, which is why the low rating.

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