The year 1844 saw a momentous presidential election, religious turmoil, westward expansion, and numerous other interwoven events that profoundly affected the U.S. as a nation. Author and journalist John Bicknell details these compelling events in this unusual history book. He explains how the election of James K. Polk assured the expansion that brought Texas, California, and Oregon into the union. This took place amidst anti-Mormon and anti-Catholic violence, the belief in the imminent second coming of Christ, the murder of Joseph Smith, Charles Goodyear's patenting of vulcanized rubber, the near-death of President John Tyler in a freak naval explosion, and much more. All of these elements illustrate the competing visions of the American future and how Polk's victory cemented the vision of a continental nation.