One hundred and sixty-nine years ago yesterday, President James Polk delivered his State of the Union address to Congress. He had quite a lot to talk about, starting off, as many Presidents did in those days, by decrying the state of affairs in Europe (some things may never change). The troubled and unsettled condition of some of the principal European powers has had a necessary tendency to check and embarrass trade and to depress prices throughout all commercial nations, including, he warned, the United States its then current prosperity notwithstanding.
The Presidents primary…

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