In our last episode, we discussed President Polk’s unlikely rise to the White House and his success in annexing Texas and settling the Oregon territory. But by late April 1846, he was leading his nation to war with its southern neighbor, Mexico. As a former dark horse candidate with no military experience, many wondered whether Polk had what it took to win the war. And even more questioned whether Polk’s war was a just war. At stake were his presidency and the future of his country. The story of that war and its legacy for our nation is the subject of this episode of This American President, The Great American Conqueror Part II.

Daguerreotype of Polk attributed to Mathew Brady, 1849.

In this episode we continue the theme of expansion in early America, telling the story of the Mexican-American War and the president who, though largely forgotten and little understood, remains a giant in the annals of American history.

 

 

 

 

Mexico in 1824. Alta California is the northwestern-most federal territory.