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The presidential election of 1844 was one of the two or three most momentous elections in American history. Had Henry Clay won instead of James K. Polk, we’d be living in a very different country today. Polk’s victory cemented the westward expansion that brought Texas, California, and Oregon into the union. It also took place amid religious turmoil that included anti-Mormon and anti-Catholic violence, and the “Great Disappointment,” in which thousands of followers of an obscure preacher named William Miller believed Christ would return to earth in October 1844.             Author and journalist John Bicknell details even more compelling, interwoven events that occurred during this momentous year: the murder of Joseph Smith, the religious fermentation of the Second Great Awakening, John C.

About the Author

John Bicknell

John Bicknell has been a journalist for more than 30 years. He is executive editor of Watchdog.org at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, and previously was an editor for Roll Call, Congressional Quarterly and FCW. He was senior editor for the 2016 edition of "The Almanac of American Politics." He lives in Virginia with his wife, Arwen (an editor for the RAND Corporation) , son Thomas, cats Jane and Gilda, and the dog, Amy Pond.

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