In 1861-65, Americans waged a war among themselves that remains the bloodiest in U.S. history. It began as a fight to preserve the Union but morphed into an abolitionist war to free 4 million men, women and children from bondage.
President Polk, and generations of sympathetic historians, told the American people the conflict was justified. But what if it was just blatant imperialism?
The third president’s election and two terms were hailed by some as revolutionary and a national salvation, but others saw a darkness beneath Thomas Jefferson's republicanism.