1845 - Polk takes office

President James K. Polk, a dauntless promoter of 'national expansion,' added millions of square miles to the nation's territorial claims in the four years of his presidency.

       Polk, an ardent expansionist, sends General Zachary Taylor to disputed territory between the Nueces and the Rio Grand rivers in southern Texas, in order to provoke a war that will support Texans' desire for independence from Mexico. 

       Though the war is illegal in any sense (an unprovoked war, like the 2003 war in Iraq, is a violation of national sovereignty under international law protocols agreed to by the United States) Polk's ploy succeeded, and during his four-year tenure he increases the public domain by 522 million acres.


(for more on Polk, click here)