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Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

William Dusinberre

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
book
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.001.0001
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

This book examines both the social and the political history of slavery. James Polk — President of the United States from 1845 to 1849 — owned a Mississippi cotton plantation with about fifty slaves. ... More


The Spirit of Governance

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0007
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

Several instances of relatively benevolent conduct toward slaves, directed usually toward a house servant, a skilled artisan, a “family slave,” or a mixed-race person, can be discovered in the Polk ... More


Flight (II) The Mississippi Plantation

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0004
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

During a nineteen-year period after Beanland had finally been dismissed, more than half of the adult men at the plantation (at least thirteen out of 25 adult males) fled at least once. These ... More


A Market for Labor Power

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0002
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

Polk was caught up in the expansive, entrepreneurial ethic of the cotton frontier, and his principal impulses as a slavemaster were acquisitive rather than paternalist. He sought, successfully, to ... More


The Nature of the Regime

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0006
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

Polk was a product of the entrepreneurial, fast-developing society of middle Tennessee. His father, Sam Polk, his father's cousin Colonel William Polk, and James Polk's brother-in-law James Walker ... More


Family and Community

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0009
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

Like slaves elsewhere, Polk's bondpeople established as strong family and community lives as was feasible. But the strength of their family institutions was weakened by the prevalence of “abroad” ... More


Flight (I)

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0003
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

Polk had established a small cotton plantation in West Tennessee for three years, before selling up in 1834 and moving on to new cotton land in Mississippi. He had been inexperienced at plantation ... More


Privileges

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0010
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

As early as 1844, Polk extended to his plantation slaves the unusual privilege of raising some cotton of their own, by voluntarily working during their free time, especially on Sundays. This put an ... More


Slavery and Union

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0013
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

Polk's purpose in securing the speedy annexation of Texas had been to expand plantation slavery into that vast domain. But this was not his aim in provoking war with Mexico; instead, Polk's principal ... More


Introduction

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0001
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

The spirit that infused the antebellum slave system was vigorously entrepreneurial. Although Polk inherited some of his slaves, he bought most of them from strangers to improve his own financial ... More


Births and Deaths

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0008
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

The health of Polk's slaves was poor. Child mortality at this plantation, up to the age of fifteen, was at least 51 percent: thus even greater than the norm for other Southern slaves. Of the ... More


Polk’s Early Response to the Antislavery Movement

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0011
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

Although during the 1840s James Polk cultivated the image of a Southern moderate on the slavery question, his early career contradicted this impression. In 1832 he had provoked a furious debate in ... More


Texas and the Mexican War

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0012
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

Polk's grandfather Ezekiel, his father, Sam, and the president himself had all established slave plantations on the westward-moving frontier; and the expansion of plantation slavery into Texas held ... More


“The Present Administration Are Your Best Recruiting Officers”

Michael F. Holt

in The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War

Published in print:
2003
Published Online:
October 2011
ISBN:
9780195161045
eISBN:
9780199849635
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195161045.003.0008
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

One Massachusetts Whig lamented after Henry Clay's shocking defeat. His despair about the party's continued viability was widely shared. Many historians have accepted these Whig obituary notices as ... More


Profit

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0005
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

Polk's plantation enterprise was a risky business. The first years of his Mississippi venture were discouraging, and Polk considered selling out in 1838. But he ended up by buying out his business ... More


Presidential Discretion and the Path to War: The Mexican War and World War II

Mariah Zeisberg

in War Powers: The Politics of Constitutional Authority

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
October 2017
ISBN:
9780691157221
eISBN:
9781400846771
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:
10.23943/princeton/9780691157221.003.0002
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

This chapter pairs President Polk's entry into the Mexican War with President Roosevelt's movement toward World War II. Using the relational conception, it argues that while both Polk and Roosevelt ... More


Alternatives

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0014
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

The South's response to the growth of an antislavery movement in the North proved disastrous to Southern white people. James Polk — the most powerful Southern politician in the late 1840s — imposed ... More


Epilogue: Slavery and the Civil War

WILLIAM DUSINBERRE

in Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195326031
eISBN:
9780199868308
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.003.0015
Subject:
History, American History: 19th Century

The self-destruction of the slave system from 1860 to 1865 cannot be attributed primarily to an eccentric group of South Carolina extremists. The real responsibility for secession was widespread ... More


Presidents and the Dissolution of the Union: Leadership Style from Polk to Lincoln

Fred I. Greenstein

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
October 2017
ISBN:
9780691151991
eISBN:
9781400846412
Item type:
book
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:
10.23943/princeton/9780691151991.001.0001
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

The United States witnessed an unprecedented failure of its political system in the mid-nineteenth century, resulting in a disastrous civil war that claimed the lives of an estimated 750,000 ... More


What Difference Did the President Make?

Fred I. Greenstein and Dale Anderson

in Presidents and the Dissolution of the Union: Leadership Style from Polk to Lincoln

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
October 2017
ISBN:
9780691151991
eISBN:
9781400846412
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:
10.23943/princeton/9780691151991.003.0008
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

The Civil War era posed profound challenges to the six presidents. There is widespread agreement that Abraham Lincoln met that test in a superlative manner while Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan ... More


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