The first complete biography of a president often overshadowed in image but seldom outdone in accomplishment. James K. Polk's pledge to serve a single term, which many thought would make him a lame duck, enabled him to rise above electoral politics and to outflank his adversaries. Thus he plotted and attained a formidable agenda: He fought for and won tariff reductions, reestablished an independent Treasury, and most notably, brought Texas into the Union, bluffed Great Britain out of the lion's share of Oregon, and wrested California and much of the Southwest from Mexico. In tracing Polk's life and career, author Borneman dispels conventional views of Polk as an accidental president. Instead, we see Polk as he was--a decisive, if not partisan, statesman whose near doubling of America's boundaries and expansive broadening of executive powers redefined the country at large, as well as the nature of its highest office.--From publisher description.