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54-40 or Fight: The President That Doubled the Nation Again

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    Some Presidents are well known and others are not. President James K. Polk falls into the latter and it's a shame that has to be. Thomas Jefferson is well known for doubling the size of the United States when he purchased the Louisiana Territory, but President Polk doesn't get nearly as much credit for doubling the size of the United States himself. America was very close to another war with Great Britain before eventually signing a treaty dividing up the Oregon Territory at the 49th Parallel. The acquisition of Oregon County alone brought about the creation of the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The territory also expanded into what is now Montana and Wyoming.

    Not only did President Polk acquire a vast amount of territory in the northwest, he went to war with Mexico after America annexed Texas. After a war that killed 20,000 Americans and 50,000 Mexicans, America negotiated a treaty that wound up more than doubling the size of the country. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo eventually led to the formation of the states of Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, most of Arizona, and parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming.

    Perhaps no other President has been given so little credit as Mr. Polk when it comes to the shape and size of the country that America became. I'm sure that our friends to the south of our borders have an entirely different view of this and that should be noted. America did not expand by negotiations, but by force. Whether one agrees with that pathway or not, we are the country we are today because of President Polk and his decision to go to war to get the land the citizens of the country demanded.