The eleventh volume of the Correspondence of James K. Polk contains some of the most consequential and interesting material in the series. Failure to restore diplomatic relations with Mexico, the advent of the Mexican-American war, British preparations for war over the Oregon country, the signing of the Oregon Treaty, passage of key domestic legislation, and Democratic losses in the fall state and congressional elections dominate the military and political subjects of the correspondence.
In prior volumes, Polk's letters focused almost entirely on politics and so left his private concerns largely untreated. Writing from the President's House, he made press copies of all of his outgoing correspondence and so recorded a more expansive range of his interests. Letters relating to his extended family, his purchase of a Nashville residence, and his addition of slaves to his Mississippi plantation offer a more personal view of the nation's eleventh president.
About the Author
Wayne Cutler became director of the Polk Project in 1975, served as associate editor of the fourth volume of the correspondence, and headed the editorial team in the preparation of the fifth and subsequent volumes in the series. He began his professional career in 1966 as an editorial associate of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and moved to the assistant editorship of the Henry Clay Project in 1970. He retired from the University of Tennessee in July 2006.