This book deals with the extraordinary life of Sarah Childress Polk. She was one of the first truly politically important first ladies of America because she acted as her husbands main political advisor, close confidant and personal secretary, and was blessed with sound acumen and moral uprightness. Dealing adroitly with Nashville’s and Washington’s political factions, she mastered intricate details of policy debates and issues set before the President and Congress. Sharing the workload in true political partnership, Sarah selected on the daily basis much of the political reading for her husband directing his attention to articles in the newspapers or to items of correspondence that she believed to be significant, thus shaping policy. Sarah Polk supported her husbands domestic and foreign policy agenda and supported the negotiations of the Oregon Treaty and the Mexican War, both of which rounded, out America’s natural frontiers. These endeavors made the United States a power from ocean to ocean. Both in her domestic charm and political acumen, Sarah Childress Polk became a role model for future First Ladies to follow both in strength of character and political performance.
Barbara Bennett Peterson's book, Sarah Childress Polk, First Lady of Tennessee and Washington, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for 2003 in the category of Biography.