Friday, August 16, 2013

Book review - Polk and the Presidency.

President James K. Polk is perhaps best known for putting the philosophy of Manifest Destiny into action by adding Texas, California, New Mexico, and Oregon to the United States. That's about all I knew of President Polk before I read Charles A. McCoy's Polk and the Presidency.

This 225 page work was published in 1961. It is not the typical biography of an American president. In fact, Mr. McCoy does not include any personal information about James Polk the man and only a smattering of background information about James Polk the politician prior to his election to the presidency of the United States.

What the book does do is give an in-depth analysis of the one-term administration of James K. Polk. McCoy covers Polk's effectiveness in foreign affairs, advancing his domestic agenda, dealing with congress, and attempting to shape public opinion among other areas of action. Also included is how Polk impacted how we view the office of President of the United Sates today. Following in President Jackson's footsteps, Polk continued to enlarge the scope of the presidency and make it a popular office rather than the republican office the founders envisioned it to be.

After reading Polk and the Presidency I felt as if I gained a much better understanding of just who Polk was as president and how he impacted the political lineage of the nation. If you're looking for who James K. Polk was and why he did what he did, this book is not for you. If you are wanting to better understand what impact he had on the nation, besides adding to it geographically, you should not pass up the chance to read Mr. McCoy's work.

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