Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor. This is a brief biography of American President Zachary Taylor. He was the hero of the Mexican War and the second President to die in office.

From the site:

Zachary Taylor ( November 24 , 1784 - July 9 , 1850 ), also known as "Old Rough and Ready", was the 12th ( 1849 - 1850 ) President of the United States , and the second President to die in office.

Taylor was a career soldier . Starting with a commission as a first lieutenant, in 1808 , he fought in the War of 1812 , the Black Hawk War , and the Second Seminole War . President Polk sent an army under his command to the Rio Grande in 1846 . When the Mexicans attacked Taylor's troops, Taylor defeated the Mexicans, despite being outnumbered 4-to-1, and Polk declared war.

In the Mexican-American War that followed, Taylor won additional important victories at Monterrey and Buena Vista and became a national hero. President Polk, disturbed by General Taylor's informal habits of command and perhaps his Whig status as well, kept him in northern Mexico and sent an expedition under General Winfield Scott to capture Mexico City. Taylor, incensed, thought that "the battle of Buena Vista opened the road to the city of Mexico and the halls of Montezuma, that others might revel in them."

He received the Whig nomination for President in 1848 , although he had never even bothered to vote before. His homespun ways were political assets, his long military record would appeal to northerners, and his ownership of slaves would attract southern votes. He also had not previously committed himself on troublesome issues. He ran against the Democratic candidate, Lewis Cass , who favored letting the residents of territories decide for themselves whether they wanted slavery. In protest against Taylor, a slaveholder, and Cass, an advocate of "squatter sovereignty", northerners who opposed extension of slavery into territories formed the Free Soil Party and nominated Martin Van Buren . In a close election, the Free Soilers pulled enough votes away from Cass to elect Taylor.

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