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Michael David CohenIndian Country Today interviewed Michael David Cohen, research assistant professor of history, for a story that is part of a series exploring past presidents’ attitudes toward Native Americans, challenges and triumphs regarding tribes, and the federal laws and Indian policies enacted during their terms in office.

Cohen, who is editor of the James K. Polk Project, noted that Polk was known as the last strong president before the Civil War and took office with four goals–reduce the tariff, reform the banking system, acquire California and settle the boundary dispute over Oregon–all of which he achieved.

“There’s no president who was less of a human being than Polk,” Cohen said. “He had almost no hobbies outside of his work. He spent long hours in his office and had no real interests besides doing his job.” Read the full story online.