Taylor, Zachary

(redirected from Zachary Taylor)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Taylor, Zachary

Zachary Taylor.

Zachary Taylor served as the twelfth president of the United States from 1849 until his death in 1850. A famous military general, Taylor was an apolitical leader who accomplished little during his sixteen months in office.

"Let us invoke a continuance of the same protecting care which has led us from small beginnings to the eminence we this day occupywhich shall acknowledge no limits but those of our own wide-spread Republic."
—Zachary Taylor

Taylor was born on November 24, 1784, in Orange County, Virginia, but moved as a child to Kentucky. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1808 and was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the infantry that same year. Taylor quickly emerged as a military hero during the War of 1812 while serving under General William Henry Harrison. He distinguished himself during the Black Hawk War in 1832 and the Second Seminole War in Florida between 1835 and 1842. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1837 after his victory at the Battle of Lake Okeechobee. In 1845, soon after the annexation of Texas, President james k. polk ordered Taylor and an army of four thousand men to the Rio Grande. Border hostilities with Mexico over the boundary between the two countries escalated into full battles in May of 1845. Taylor's troops defeated an invading Mexican army at the Battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. That same month the United States declared war on Mexico.

Taylor and his army invaded Mexico and advanced to Monterrey, capturing the city in late September. His military career was put in doubt, however, when a letter became public in which Taylor criticized President Polk and his secretary of war, William L. Marcy. An angry Polk could not relieve the popular war hero of his command, but he stripped Taylor of his best troops and ordered him to adopt a defensive posture. Taylor, who was nicknamed "Old Rough and Ready," disobeyed Polk's orders and defeated a Mexican army that outnumbered his troops by four to one at the Battle of Buena Vista in February 1847. This stunning victory guaranteed Taylor the status of national hero.

The Whig Party nominated Taylor as its presidential candidate in 1848, even though Taylor had no interest in politics (he had never voted in an election) and was a slave owner. Taylor defeated the Democratic candidate, Lewis Cass, in the November general election.

Taylor's brief service as president was unremarkable. Having no political background, Taylor was unprepared for the give-and-take of Washington politics. The biggest issue facing him was statehood for California and New Mexico, which had been acquired from Mexico as a result of the war. Although he owned slaves, Taylor was opposed to the expansion of Slavery into the new territories, a position that alienated Southern Whigs and Democrats in Congress. When California voted to prohibit slavery, the South opposed its admission to the Union. Attempts by Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky to negotiate a compromise were rebuffed by Taylor.

As this political conflict unfolded in the summer of 1850, Taylor contracted cholera. He died on July 9, 1850, in Washington, D.C.

Taylor was succeeded by Vice President Millard Fillmore, who quickly agreed to resolve the Mexican territories issue with the Compromise of 1850. This act admitted California into the Union as a free state, gave the territories of Utah and New Mexico the right to determine the slavery issue for themselves at the time of their admission to the Union, outlawed the slave trade in the District of Columbia, and gave the federal government the right to return fugitive slaves in the fugitive slave act (9 Stat. 462).

Further readings

Hamilton, Holman. 1978. The Three Kentucky Presidents—Lincoln, Taylor, Davis. Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Their preliminary research claimed that the image was derived from a wood-engraved illustration found in a biography of Zachary Taylor titled The Life of General Taylor.
Zachary Taylor, hero of the recent war with Mexico, predicted that the issue of slavery in the territories acquired through that war would be the "gravest the nation had ever faced." The question had been thrust upon Congress when Pennsylvania Democrat David Wilmot proposed that no territory acquired from Mexico should have legalized slavery.
* Succeeded as president after Zachary Taylor's death.
Zachary Taylor, the twelfth president, at the age of sixty-five laid the cornerstone of the Washington Memorial on a hot day in July 1850, over-exposed himself to the heat, ate milk ice and cherries, both of which he knew disagreed with him, and died of acute gastroenteritis a few days later.
On January 13, 1846, President Polk ordered American forces under Zachary Taylor (1784-1850) to advance to the Rio Grande.
Michael Parrish, we now know that Zachary Taylor's only son, Richard, too, made his own mark on history.
Zachary Taylor was ordered to defend a line "on or near the Rio Grande."
We can also thank the author for acquainting us with Martin Van Buren's tiger cubs; William Henry Harrison's cow Sukey; Zachary Taylor's horse, allowed to graze on the White House lawn where visitors plucked hairs from his tail for souvenirs; and James Buchanan's dog Lara, a Newfoundland famous for its ability to pose with one eye open and one eye closed.
Zachary Taylor at Palo Alto (May 8, 1846) and Resaca de la Palma (May 9), where he was brevetted 1st lieutenant; transferred to Gen.
Born in Locke, New York, Fillmore was first a lawyer in Buffalo, was elected to the state legislature, served several terms in Congress, and was elected Vice President on the ticket with Zachary Taylor in 1848.
Polk 1845-1849 Zachary Taylor 1949-1850 Millard Fillmore 1850-1853 Franklin Pierce 1853-1857 James Buchanan 1857-1861 Abraham Lincoln 1861-1865 Andrew Johnson 1865-1869 Ulysses S.
While he was the lone Wildcat again, he did have Metea Valley freshman Zachary Taylor and Waubonsie Valley freshman Nagasai Nitta competing alongside him.