1844 - Polk elected president

James K. Polk

         The most unlikely president in American history is elected when all of the other candidates fail to win a majority.  Dubbed 'Young Hickory" for his association with fellow Tennesean Andrew Jackson, Polk would change the political geography of the known world in four short years. 

         In addition to embracing Manifest Destiny as a new doctrine for western expansion of the republic, Polk was determined to provoke a war with Mexico in order to add both Texas and California - Mexican territories - to the union.  In this he succeeded, though his territorial ambitions had as many detractors as supporters.  Most historians have concluded that Polk's ambitions crossed all legal as well as geographic boundaries.  The Mexican War was an illegal adventure by the United States from the very outset.  Once it was concluded, California and Texas were both granted statehood.

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The Battle of Veracruz