Sarah Childress Polk

A Biography of the Remarkable First Lady

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About the Book

Historians generally consider James K. Polk one of the most effective presidents in United States history. Many of them doubt, however, that President Polk would have been successful without the counsel of his wife Sarah. The president dominated his cabinet and trusted no one—except for his wife.
Sarah Childress Polk (1803–1891) was a highly educated woman who became President Polk’s virtual secretary and more: She critiqued his speeches, evaluated his Cabinet decisions, and worked side by side with her husband. Mrs. Polk was praised for her astute views on matters of state by both Polk’s supporters and his opponents. She outlived her husband by 42 years, and was often consulted by politicians who respected her opinions and trusted her instincts, including Confederate and Union officers in the Civil War. This is the story of a powerful and tireless first lady who became one of the most influential Americans of the middle and late nineteenth century.

About the Author(s)

The late John R. Bumgarner was also the author of The Health of the Presidents (1994) and Parade of the Dead (1995). He lived in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

John R. Bumgarner
Forewords by Judy Cheatham ; and George Cheatham
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 176
Bibliographic Info: photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 1997
pISBN: 978-0-7864-0366-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1344-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      7

Foreword      11

Preface      13

Chapter 1      15

Chapter 2      21

Chapter 3      34

Chapter 4      49

Chapter 5      63

Chapter 6      76

Chapter 7      92

Chapter 8      107

Chapter 9      116

Chapter 10      126

Chapter 11      138

Notes      155

Bibliography      167

Index      171

Book Reviews & Awards

“presents an exciting look into the life and times of Sarah Polk, a fascinating lady who used her charm, intelligence, and her political interest and knowledge in an unobtrusive way to help her husband’s career in the political arena”—The North Carolina Historical Review.