The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The thread of the immigration project is carried by footnotes, longer than the
actual diary and identifying as many as possible of those mentioned, the diary it-
self mostly describing Prince Carl's personal experiences and well-being. Many
nights were spent camping during blue northers and fearful thunderstorms, both
far beyond the experience of European nobility. He fell out of a hammock when
a dry branch broke, marveled at the mammoth bones from the Brazos River which
he saw at the hotel in San Felipe, gritted his teeth through a soiree musicale. He ate
squirrel, "a tolerable meal" (p. 43), and "killed three rattlesnakes, two of whom
were copulating" (p. 139).
On Good Friday in 1845, he noted crossing the Guadalupe River, "the first 15
wagons, but what toil and what difficulty it was. Finally they are herd' (p. 137).
And, for a while, they kept coming. At Nassau Farm, the Society's headquarters
near Independence, he commented on the crops toward the end of May, "The rye
looks all right, the cotton not particularly so, many weeds between the plants. The
hoeing was hard on the Negroes" (p. 150).
The appendices include maps of his travels, his memoir on American Affairs,
later delivered to Queen Victoria, and the diary of the Society's colonial director,
Bourgeois d'Orvanne, who fell from grace during the Prince's visit.
Although the diary adds little of factual or intellectual consequence, it is a
unique and charming contribution. The translation from nineteenth-century
German to late-twentieth-century English is disconcerting but endearing.
Austin, Texas Jane Manaster
James K. Polk: A Clear and Unquestionable Destiny. By Thomas M. Leonard. (Wilm-
ington: SR Books, 2oo1. Pp. xxiv+218. Introduction, chronology, conclusion,
bibliographical essay, index. ISBN o-8420-2647-9. $17.95, paper.)
A few days after James K. Polk became the president in March 1845, he identi-
fied four measures he hoped to accomplish: reduce the tariff, establish an inde-
pendent treasury, settle the boundary dispute over Oregon, and acquire
California. Thomas Leonard's study, part of the Biographies in American Foreign
Policy series, offers a concise and balanced account of how Polk achieved his ob-
jectives. Leonard argues that distrust of Great Britain and European entangle-
ments, desire for trade and economic opportunities, and a sense of mission that
made expansion of American institutions a national imperative shaped American
foreign policy and expansion during the early nineteenth century. In telling the
familiar story of American Manifest Destiny during this era, he carefully weighs
the opposing views, emphasizing self-confidence and concern about foreign
threats to national security as well as paranoia and racism. He concludes, however,
that "idealistic considerations of Manifest Destiny" (p. 191) were less important to
American expansionists than pragmatic "sectional and economic interests" (p.
56). Polk pushed expansion because he understood why Southerners concerned
about slavery wanted Texas, why New England merchants hungry for trade with
East Asia sought the Pacific Coast ports of California, and why yeoman farmers
with a seemingly inexhaustible need for fresh land desired the Oregon country.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/. Accessed January 25, 2015.