Here are some one liners...
The Irish Potato Famine -- Politics made it worse so I talk about the power of government to goof things up.
A Slave State Imbalance and the Shadow of War -- Texas is annexed and it is going to state the Mexican-American War. I talk about how the politics worked out to get Texas annexed.
In Other News -- The 1st veto override, the first murder case solved by telegraph and an underseas telegraph cable is laid.
The Irish Potato FamineIt is a warm Irish summer causing the potato crop to sprout early and then a cold spell hits. The crops have survived weather changes in the past, but now the fields are turning brown. A few potatoes are dug up and look fine, but turn to gray mush in storage. Some farmers blame the new locomotive whose tracks have been laid near by, but the potato blight runs far from the tracks. Scientists have no idea how to solve this problem, but it is already too late. Half of this year's crop is unfit for human consumption. Half a million Irishmen are at risk of starvation and death this year. Famine is nothing new to Ireland or the United Kingdom, so Prime Minister Peel dismisses the report: "There is such a tendency to exaggeration and inaccuracy in Irish reports that delay in acting on them is always desirable." The limited amount of grain grown in Ireland is shipped out on schedule, leaving little for the Irish to eat. Emigration laws have been liberalized, and transportation costs have dropped, so Irish families head for the United States and hope for better days. They are held on Deer Island, near Boston, until the authorities can figure out where to put them. The Irish will set down roots and take up residence. It will be a tough go, but the alternative is hunger, disease and death in Ireland over the next decade or so.      
A Slave State Imbalance and the Shadow of WarTexas and Florida are admitted as slave states after the Presidential election produces another winner for the Democrats: James K. Polk. Polk was the dark horse candidate, and never expected to win against a popular figure like Henry Clay, but the question of the annexation of Texas became a sticking point. Clay was originally against annexation since that would create an imbalance of free and slave states. (Texas was a slave state.) Remember that Clay was the author of the Missouri Compromise that made this balancing act a policy. Certainly everyone else remembered as Clay tried to ignore Texas annexation during the campaign. That allowed Polk to steal the issue from Clay, as Polk promised to make Texas a priority. With Florida joining the Union this year that makes 15 slave states to 13 free. Iowa will be added next year as a free state, but the Union will still be out of balance politically. It is looking like slavery will remain a part of American life forever... or until there is a war. Even now, people can feel it coming. In fact, a war starts next year... the Mexican-American War.  
In Other News
- The first Presidential veto is overridden. On the last day of the Congressional session, the clock is stopped at midnight, but the debate goes on until President Tyler's veto is overridden. The new law restricts the President's power to have ships built for the coast guard. 
- The first underseas telegraph cable is laid across the English Channel. Beam me up, Scotty! What is next?