Nov 21, 2009

A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the Conquest of the American Continent

(NYTBR) President James K. Polk has languished in obscurity long enough to have become the subject of an amusing — and remarkably accurate — rock ’n’ roll song. “In four short years he met his every goal,” the alt-rock band They Might Be Giants sings in “James K. Polk,” which the group first released on an EP in 1990. The man secured the Oregon Territory, slashed tariffs, reformed the national banking system and seized “the whole Southwest from Mexico.” And yet, the song concludes, “precious few have mourned the passing of / Mr. James K. Polk, our 11th president / Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump.” Continued

Photos: Library of Congress