James K. Polk.



Transcription of Annotations

Extensive notes on front and back endpapers concerning significant events in Polk's life, individuals who influenced Polk, and the political climate in which he operated. In addition to these notes Brian Lamb records significant conclusions and observations made by Seigenthaler about President Polk: “His administration approached 'greatness,'” “His diary attests to his smallness as a human being, the greatness of his achievements,” “4 goals 1846 1) agreement with British on Oregon, 2) Signed tariff bill, 3) Passage of Constitutional Treasury, 4) California,” “Polk a slave owner, perfectionist, micromanager, workaholic, brooding, humorless, angry, arrogant, unforgiving, called himself - 'the hardest working man in the country,' straight laced little prig from TN.” Annotations by Brian Lamb in the margins and underlining of pertinent phrases throughout the book. Examples include: “Polk takes power,” “edge of violence in House,” and the text, “Polk suffers because historians instinctively measure his accomplishments, which were substantial, alongside his presidential personality, which was anal. They discover in his diary a quixotic human whose writings and thought processes rang from vanilla to venomous.”


Seigenthaler, John, “James K. Polk. ,” One Book. One Author. One Hour., accessed November 29, 2022, http://booknotes.gmu.edu/items/show/681.


Output Formats

Dublin Core


James K. Polk.


Seigenthaler, John


Program air date: January 18, 2004


In the summer of 1844, James K. Polk's political career was in ruins. As the Democratic National Convention approached, Polk had thought himself assured of the vice presidential nomination, but the presidential front-runner, former president Martin Van Buren, had made it clear that he had little interest in him. Van Buren was on a mission to regain the White House, which he had lost in 1840, and he needed a strong running mate. Polk had three strikes against him. First, Polk had been unable to deliver his and Andrew Jackson's home state of Tennessee in 1840, while Polk was governor. Second, he was fresh from having lost the governor's mansion - for a second time. And third, Van Buren - as well as the Whigs' candidate, Henry Clay - had just taken a stand against the annexation of Texas, whereas Polk had come out in its favor. "But as the delegates assembled in Baltimore, Polk perceived a wave of public sentiment in favor of bringing Texas into the Union, and he rode that wave all the way to the nomination and eventually the White House - the first "dark horse" candidate to do so. Congress soon annexed Texas, and Polk continued to look west, becoming the champion of what was known as "manifest destiny." He settled the disputed Oregon boundary with Great Britain, extending U.S. territory to the Pacific Ocean, and waged war on Mexico in hopes of winning California and New Mexico. The considerably smaller American army never lost a battle, and the southwest territories became part of the United States in 1848." "At home, however, Polk suffered a political firestorm of antiwar attacks, particularly from the Whigs. Despite tremendous accomplishments in just four years - from pushing the westward expansion to restoring an independent Treasury to ushering in an era of free trade - "Young Hickory" left office feeling the sting of criticism and suffering from a stressful presidency that had taken a heavy physical toll. He died within three months of departing Washington."--BOOK JACKET.


"Polk, James K. (James Knox), 1795-1849."
"Presidents--United States--Biography."


Brian Lamb Booknotes Collection
Gift of Brian Lamb, 2011.


Times Books
George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives


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1st ed.