Read A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent by Robert W. Merry Free Online
Book Title: A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent|
Loaded: 1843 times
Reader ratings: 7.7
The author of the book: Robert W. Merry
Edition: Simon & Schuster
Date of issue: November 3rd 2009
ISBN 13: 9780743297431
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 8.70 MB
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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 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, Robert Merry illuminates a crucial epoch in U.S. history.
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Read information about the authorRobert W. Merry (born 1946) is an American journalist, publishing executive, commentator, and author. He is the editor of The American Conservative.
Robert W. Merry was born in 1946 in Tacoma, WA. He served three years in the U.S. Army, including two years as a counterintelligence special agent in West Germany. He graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1968 and earned a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1972.
Merry started his career as a reporter for The Denver Post and became a Washington-based political reporter in 1974 when he joined the staff of the National Observer, a Dow Jones weekly newspaper. When the Observer folded in 1977, he became a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, and spent twelve years there covering Congress, national politics, and the White House, among other beats. In 1987 Merry became managing editor of Congressional Quarterly. He was promoted to Executive Editor in 1990 and became President and Editor-in-Chief in 1997. He held that position for 12 years and led CQ into the digital age. ``B2B Business magazine named him an "innovator of the year" in 2009. That year CQ was sold to ``The Economist of London, and Merry subsequently became editor of The National Interest and later ``The American Conservative.
Merry is the author of five books.