A Country of Vast Designs

A Country of Vast Designs

James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent

ROBERT MERRY’S BRILLIANT AND HIGHLY ACCLAIMED HISTORY OF A CRUCIAL EPOCH IN U.S. HISTORY.

In a one-term presidency, James K. Polk completed the story of America’s Manifest Destiny—extending its territory across the continent by threatening England with war and manufacturing a controversial and unpopular two-year war with Mexico.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 592 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743297448 | 
  • November 2010
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A Country of Vast Designs INTRODUCTION: RITUAL OF DEMOCRACY
The Emergence of an Expansionist President

PRECISELY AT SUNRISE on the morning of March 4, 1845, the roar of cannon shattered the dawn’s early quiet of Washington, D.C.—twenty-eight big guns fired in rapid succession. Thus did the American military announce to the nation’s capital that it was about to experience the country’s highest ritual of democracy, the inauguration of... see more

About the Author

Robert W. Merry
Photo Credit: Scott J. Ferrell

Robert W. Merry

Robert Merry is the editor of The National Interest. He has been a Washington correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and the executive editor of the Congressional Quarterly. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The National Review, The American Spectator, and The National Interest. He has appeared in Meet the Press, Face the Nation, Newsmakers, and many other programs. He lives in McLean, Virginia.

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Author Revealed

Robert W. Merry
Q. how did you come to write A Country of Vast Designs?

A. The idea came from my editor at Simon & Schuster, Alice Mayhew, who asked me, ``What do you know about the Mexican War?'' I said I knew little but understood that the politics surrounding that war and the expansionist zeal that had captured the country during that time were extremely intense and fascinating. So I embarked on a research initiative and crafted an approach to telling the story. Alice liked it and set me on my course. The result is A COUNTRY OF VAST DESIGNS.

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