Zachary Taylor. Zachary was the twelfth President of the United States of America. “Old Rough and Ready”. Zachary Taylor earned his nickname and gained popularity and respect during his service in the United States Army. He became a major general then became a national hero due to victories he led in the Mexican-American War. This led to his nomination by the Whig political party for President. He considered himself an independent before, however did run as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election. His primary concern, at this time of division over slavery, was preserving the Union.
Zachary Taylor was born on a plantation in Orange County, Virginia. He and other family members were slave owners and served in the military in addition to being planters. He did not encourage the expansion of slavery. He wanted territories to apply for statehood, so their state constitutions could settle the question of their own state and slavery.
Zachary Taylor married his wife Margaret Smith in 1810. They had six children, five girls and a boy. His family moved when his military or later political career made moves necessary. He stayed away from Washington, D.C. until shortly before his inauguration. He was more of a hands-off President. He used geography as a basis for many of his appointments and really seemed to believe in the power of Congress.
Zachary Taylor was only President for a short time. He was in office from March 4, 1849 until his death on July 9, 1850. He went to a July 4th holiday celebration and became sick after it. Although some other people became sick as well, there are controversies and possible assassination theories related to his death. He was only 65 years old when he died.
Historians have ranked Zachary Taylor’s presidency low, however his is often considered the most effective of the four Whig Party Presidents. His last known words include his perception that his words, actions, and motives were possibly misunderstood and that he wanted to do “an honest duty”. Regardless of his strength as a President, his service in the military and as President can be applauded and seen as inspirational. Be inspired! Have a bright day!