KOMET's Reviews > A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent

A Country of Vast Designs by Robert W. Merry
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12/13/2010 page 96
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KOMET This book offers an eye-opening account of a "dark horse" candidate - James K. Polk - who became perhaps the most effective one-term President in U.S. history (1845-49), acquiring the Oregon Territory from Britain, enlarging the size of the country by a third (from ocean to ocean) via a war with Mexico (though not without controversy), and strengthening a decentralized banking system.

KOMET "WITH WAR'S END came the culmination of Polk's presidential ambitions. Texas, Oregon, the tariff bill, and the independent treasury had all fallen into his hands with relative ease and without much of a political or personal toll. And now he added the successful outcome of the Mexican conflict, ending in the acquisition of some 600,000 square miles of continental expanse and the dominance of a vast Pacific coastline with some of the best harbors in the world. Few presidents would prove capable of enhancing their country's geopolitical standing on such a scale." - pp. 449-450.

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