The Best American Presidents of All Time is a somewhat nebulous list. The methodology for choosing the best changes from one poll to the next, and the criteria varies with each historian’s personal biases. But over the years, there has been a general top 10-12 most historians agree on: Lincoln, FDR, Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, Wilson, Jackson, Reagan, and James K. Polk. That’s right – James K. Polk.
This is a major political biography of a great American president who won a war, transformed the government, and doubled the size of the United States…in four years.
When Polk was sworn in as the 11th president, what followed was one of the most consequential presidencies in history. Against his opponents, he unabashedly proclaimed U.S. policy to be one of continental expansion. By the time he left office, Oregon, California, New Mexico, and Texas had been admitted into the Union, and Congress’ mandate to wage war was forever rendered a rubber stamp by a transformed and empowered executive branch. True to his word, Polk stepped down after one term.
He remains relatively little known. In fact, no full-length modern biography of Polk has ever been written. Until now.
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