1844: the year that remade America.

Author:Walker, Jesse
Position:Briefly Noted - America, 1844: Religious Fervor, Westward Expansion, and the Presidential Election That Transformed the Nation - Brief article - Book review

Few American elections were as pivotal as the one in 1844. When James K. Polk beat Martin Van Buren for the Democratic nomination, the party's libertarian-leaning anti-slavery wing had to take a back seat to the slaveholders and expansionists. (Four years later, Van Buren's faction would walk out altogether, forming the nucleus of the new Free Soil Party.) And when Polk defeated Henry Clay in November, the country was set on the road to seizing the Southwest--and to some key disputes in the lead-up to the Civil War.

John Bicknell's America 1844 (Chicago Review) is the riveting story of an...

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