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

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

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America 1844: Religious Fervor, Westward Expansion, and the Presidential Election That Transformed the Nation
Author John Bicknell
Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2015

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

Reviewer Benjamin E. Park

John Bicknell, in his book America 1844: Religious Fervor, Westward Expansion, and the Presidential Election That Transformed the Nation, attempts to tell the story of this momentous year. Main characters like politicians John Tyler, James Polk, and Henry Clay are placed along with cultural figures like William Miller and Joseph Smith to demonstrate both the breadth of this cultural transition and the depth of its influence. Though a majority of the content is focused on the key players in the election itself, enough attention is given to wider tumult to demonstrate that this was indeed a society in transition. Innovations in communication, transportation, and technology seemed to summon a new stage of modernity. The hope of annexing Texas and Oregon promised to expand the nation’s border. Yet the persistence of internal battles made it impossible for America to enjoy these momentous developments.

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