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356CIVIL WAR HISTORY His application of psychological theory and his probing of the problem of morality and law has a significance far beyond simply an understanding of the antislavery controversy. Cover has analyzed the perennial problem of formal law and its relationship to changing social values. Law must change as the norms of society change, but what is the role of the judicial process in this pattern of adjustment ? This is the fascinating question Cover confronts, and he demonstrates how the historian may use techniques other than the traditional to grapple with the dilemma. Unfortunately he does not analyze at length the thinking of such men as Justice Smith and Justice Crawford of Wisconsin and Justice Brinkerhoff of Ohio, men who did dare to make the moral leap over the barrier of positive law. Such an analysis might lead to a better understanding of when and how the jurist chooses to escape the confines of professional role and pursue the dictates of conscience. But what Cover has presented is a significant contribution to historical literature and an aid in comprehending the American legal tradition. Jon C. Teaford Purdue University Correspondence of James K. Polk. Volume III, 1835-36. Edited by Herbert Weaver and Kermit L. Hall. (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1975. Pp. xxxvi, 836. $25.00.) When last we heard from James K. Polk (CWH, December, 1972), he was about to emerge on the national scene as a prominent figure. In the present installment he continues his involvement in several exciting political adventures. In truth, awaiting the next volume of a prominent man's papers is a bit like the small-town childhood anticipation of next Saturday's movie serial. Basic story lines are well known in advance, but each new release fills in unexpected details and further reveals the activities of the principal actor and his supporting cast. The years covered by this volume were lively both in Tennessee and in the national arena. The approaching end of Andrew Jackson 's presidency brought with it the problems of preparing the way for his preferred successor, Martin Van Buren. That project in turn involved rewarding loyal supporters and pressuring wavering ones, while at the same time attempting to prevent the signal embarrassment of a revolt in Tennessee itself. Having lost the Speakership of the House to arch-rival John Bell in 1834, Polk won the prize in December 1835, and thereafter became a central figure in the maintenance of party unity. The year 1836 marked the height of book reviews357 Hugh Lawson White's bid for the presidency, and since Polk was one of only three Tennessee congressmen to oppose White, the lion's share of campaigning in Tennessee during the summer of 1836 fell to him. Following the election, in which the White-Bell forces captured the state even though losing nationwide, it became clear that Polk would be the chief party leader in Tennessee for the next several years. On all of these movements the present volume affords rich detail. After sifting through a thousand letters, the editors selected 690 for publication. Over five hundred are printed in full, the rest are summarized. Only 118 are by Polk, and they run the gamut: short notes to such people as Treasury Secretary Levi Woodbury about legislative matters; a response to Spanish Minister Calderón de la Barca's complaint about not receiving House documents for the legation's file; a fulsome acceptance of an invitation to address the home folks at a public dinner at Bigbyville; and five-pagers to Old Hickory about party doings. Among the prominent political figures who contribute to this volume are Cave Johnson (32 exchanges), Andrew Jackson (16), Felix Grundy (15), A. O. P.. Nicholson (11), Andrew Jackson Donelson and Levi Woodbury (10), Lewis Cass (9), Mahlon Dickerson and John Catron (6), John McKinley (5), Hugh Lawson White (4), Clement C. Clay (3), Caleb Cushing (2), and James M. Wayne (1). A number of exchanges with five brothers-in-law and other male relatives leavens the otherwise heavily political and administrative selections with personal matters; Polk's wife, however, was with him and his sisters apparently never wrote. The incoming correspondence reveals a great...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 356-358
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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