America 1844: Religious Fervor, Westward Expansion, and the Presidential Election That Transformed the Nation

John Bicknell

The presidential election of 1844 was once one of many or 3 such a lot momentous elections in American historical past. Had Henry Clay received rather than James ok. Polk, we’d be dwelling in a truly diversified nation this present day. Polk’s victory cemented the westward enlargement that introduced Texas, California, and Oregon into the union. It additionally happened amid spiritual turmoil that incorporated anti-Mormon and anti-Catholic violence, and the “Great Disappointment,” within which millions of fans of an imprecise preacher named William Miller believed Christ could go back to earth in October 1844.

            writer and journalist John Bicknell information much more compelling, interwoven occasions that happened in this momentous 12 months: the homicide of Joseph Smith, the spiritual fermentation of the second one nice Awakening, John C. Frémont’s exploration of the West, Charles Goodyear’s patenting of vulcanized rubber, the near-death of President John Tyler in a freak naval explosion, and lots more and plenty extra. All of those components illustrate the competing visions of the yankee future—Democrats as opposed to Whigs, Mormons as opposed to Millerites, nativists as opposed to Catholics, those that risked the enterprise westward as opposed to those that stayed thoroughly behind—and how Polk’s election cemented the imaginative and prescient of a continental nation.

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