“Many were surprised that he won the presidential election. He defeated an experienced candidate with an excellent political resume. He won, because unlike his opponent, he had correctly assessed the mood of the electorate in 1844. Historians rate James K. Polk in the top tier of American presidents, yet we rarely pay attention to him. He served only one term and gets credit for adding over a million square miles to the country. He did this by fomenting what was regarded by some as a “wicked war” of aggression and by others as the fulfillment of America’s Manifest Destiny. The Mexican War faced potent opposition by individuals as diverse as Abraham Lincoln and Henry David Thoreau. While it made us a nation “from sea to shining sea” it also exacerbated sectional differences and set
us on the road to Civil War.”