by E.I. McCormac


(Volume Two of Two)

ISBN 978-0-945707-10-3     $32.50

348 pages including bibliography, index, illustrations and maps. 

      (continued from previous page)  As a disciple of Jackson, Polk regarded Federalism as an ineradicable taint indicating an absence of moral sense.  He was a good listener but intensely secretive, and being so, suspicious.  His only interest was politics and his early association with politics in Tennessee and at Washington made him an expert, except as a judge of men, but he certainly was a politician first and a statesman afterwards.  As a politician he was shifty, yet when confronted with the responsibilities of executive power he became independent and to that extent constructive - - a statesman if viewed in the light of the results of his four years of power.  As one reads of his interviews with Atocha, and the direction in which those meetings led him, one cannot feel that his moral plane was very high, and in his attitude toward the spoils system, which filled him with wearied disgust, there appeared no appreciation of the essential political immorality of such a scheme.
   Professor McCormac relies upon Bancroft's statement, as to Polk's four ambitions - - the reduction of the tariff, the establishment of the subtreasury, the settlement of the Oregon question, and the acquisition of California.  Never robust in health, he was no doubt strengthened in his decision (not to run for re-election) by the strain of executive responsibility.  He left office like so many of his predecessors and successors, a disappointed man, but it was not the disappointment of frustrated ambition, but rather that he had been misunderstood and not appreciated.  No occupant of the presidential chair worked harder, or shifted fewer burdens upon his subordinates.  He literally wore himself out in the White House."  

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