SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The Scotch Plains Public Library will present a program ​on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 7:00 p.m.covering a neglected but critical era of our nation’s history: the decades preceding the Civil War, when “Manifest Destiny” guided the country’s policies and a president’s unexpected death left its path uncertain.

Jason Martinek, professor of History at New Jersey City University, will talk about the profound impact of the doctrine of “Manifest Destiny,” the idea that the United States was destined to expand across the continent to the Pacific. As the nation relentlessly pursued the acquisition of land, the question of whether the new territories would permit slavery grew increasingly tense and resistant to resolution.

Looking further into this period, Thomas Strowe, Project Coordinator for Redevelopment in Scotch Plains, will present a segment on the often-forgotten president, Zachary Taylor. What was the impact of his sudden death in office as the country was growing increasingly divided? 

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This will be a fascinating evening of history, offering an illuminating look at a time when divisions were escalating, but civil war was not yet seen as inevitable. Registration is recommended for this program, but not required.  To register, please go to, or call the Adult Services department at 908-322-5007, x204. You may also register in person at the Adult Services desk.

The Scotch Plains Library is located at 1927 Bartle Avenue, one block from Park Avenue in the center of town.