Zachary Taylor

President Zachary Taylor

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12th President of the United States 
under the US Constitution of 1787

Edited 1887 Appletons' Encyclopedia
Copyright © USPresidency.com 2010
Message of President Zachary Taylor nominating his cabinet, including John M. Clayton as Secretary of State, William Morris Meredith as Secretary of the Treasury, and William Ballard Preston as Secretary of the Navy. - Courtesy of:National Archives and Records Administration
Zachary Taylor was a popular hero of the Mexican War, the first career soldier to attain the Presidency and the first United States president elected after the Mexican War. After 40 years in the army, he became the first man to occupy the nation's highest office without previous political experience. The biggest problem he faced was how to organize the large Southwest territory acquired from Mexico. Amid a national crisis between the North and the South over the territory, Taylor was an able and respected military commander. He wore a simple, informal uniform and in combat often exposed himself to enemy fire. His stocky build and stout endurance led his men to nickname him Old Rough and Ready. While he was adequate, Taylor was by no means a brilliant general. Taylor reached the Presidency with no political aspiration or preparation. It is a matter of speculation as to whether continuation of his hard line policy toward the South would have prevented the American Civil War.



Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200.

Born in Orange County, Virginia on November 24, 1784, Taylor was the third of nine children of Richard and Sarah Strother Taylor. Both of his parents were of leading families in Virginia. His father Richard was an army officer who had served with George Washington in the American Revolution. Zachary's family moved from Virginia to northern Kentucky in Jefferson County just a few months after his birth and he was raised on a plantation. Taylor had only little formal education that he received from a private tutor since there were no schools in the area. He was a career officer in the Army, but thought mostly of raising cotton. As a youngster, Zachary's father regaled him with stories of he and his comrades from the days of the American Revolution. When grown he joined the army, but Zachary however, always kept his interest in farming. He married Margaret (Peggy) Mackall Smith of Maryland in 1810 and had four children; one daughter would become the first wife of Jefferson Davis, later Confederate president; a son became a Confederate general.

In 1808 Zachary joined the army an infantry officer. Over the course of the next 40 years, he served at many frontier posts. During the War of 1812, he distinguished himself under William Henry Harrison. He also served in the Indian Wars in the Old Northwest Territory and Florida as well as in the Mexican War. Dignitaries who served under Taylor included Abraham Lincoln in the Black Hawk War, and Ulysses S. Grant and Jefferson Davis in the Mexican War. In 1837 during the Second Seminole War, he was credited with the defeat of the Seminole Indians in the Battle of Lake Okeechobee. This action earned him a promotion to the rank of Brigadier General. It was through his actions in these battles that he earned the nickname "Old Rough and Ready". His participation in the Mexican War made him a national hero and his 40 years in the Army made him a strong nationalist.

Late 1847 saw the return of Taylor to his Baton Rouge, Louisiana plantation. It was being suggested that he become a candidate for president. However, he was cool to this idea. As time wore on, he stated that he would not actively seek the office but would accept the nomination if it were to be offered. . His popularity as a military hero enabled him to overtake Henry Clay, Senator from Kentucky and win the Whig nomination for the presidency in 1848.Millard Fillmore was chosen as his running mate. Taylor had little political experience, having never previously bothered to vote. He declared himself non-partisan and would not commit himself to troublesome issues. Being a slave owner lured the southern vote and his military record appealed to the northerners. As "Old Rough and Ready", his homespun ways were his political assets. In the November election, a three-way contest between himself, Democrat Lewis Cass, and Free Soiler Martin Van Buren, Taylor polled 163 electoral votes to Cass's 127. He carried eight slave states and seven free states, winning 15 of the then 30 states. The Free Soiler Party's Van Buren failed to win an electoral vote.

President Zachary Taylor's greatest achievement during his administration was in foreign affairs. John M. Clayton, Secretary of State, arranged in 1850 the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty with Great Britain. This was in an effort to end British encroachments in Central America and paved the way for the building of the Panama Canal over a half-century later.

With the breach between free and slave states widening, Taylor, a slaveholder himself, opposed the unrestricted expansion of slavery. Taylor favored granting immediate statehood to California and New Mexico, but when California prohibited slavery, the South opposed its admission to the Union. Taylor refused to reconsider and took a firm stand against Southern threats of secession from the Union. Resisting Henry Clay's compromise proposals made in an effort to settle the differences between the North and the South, President Taylor declared that he was ready to use force to prevent secession. This stand alienated southern Whigs and contributed to an impasse and the greatest debate in Senate history. President Taylor favored changes in the original resolutions, but died before such amendments could be made. His death removed the principal obstacle to the passage two months later of Clay's proposals, the Compromise Measures of 1850. The war Taylor had been most willing to face came 11 years later.

After ceremonies to lay the cornerstone of the Washington Monument on July 4, 1850, Taylor became sick from the heat with cholera and died five days later on July 9, 1850. He was the second President to die while in office. Zachary Taylor was buried near Louisville, Kentucky in what is now Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.
Zachary Taylor Engraving © Stan Klos
TAYLOR, Zachary, twelfth president of the United States under the US Constitution, born in Orange county, Virginia, 24 September, 1784; died in the executive mansion, Washington, D. C., 9 July, 1850. His father, Colonel Richard Taylor, an officer in the war of the Revolution, was conspicuous for zeal and daring among men in whom personal gallantry was the rule. After the war he retired to private life, and in 1785 removed to Kentucky, then a sparsely occupied county of Virginia, and made his home near the present city of Louisville, where he died.

Zachary was the third son. Brought up on a farm in a new settlement, he had few scholastic opportunities; but in the thrift, industry, self-denial, and forethought required by the circumstances, he learned such lessons as were well adapted to form the character illustrated by his eventful career. Yet he had also another form of education. The liberal grants of land that Virginia made to her soldiers caused many of them, after the peace of 1783, to remove to the west; thus Colonel Taylor's neighbors included many who had been his fellow-soldiers, and these often met around his wide hearth. 

Their conversation would naturally be reminiscences of their military life, and all the sons of Colonel Taylor, save one, Hancock, entered the United States army. The rapid extension of settlements on the border was productive of frequent collision with the Indians, and required the protection of a military force In 1808, on the recommendation of President Jefferson, congress authorized the raising of five regiments of infantry, one of riflemen, one of light artillery, and one of light dragoons. From the terms of the act it was understood that this was Dot to be a permanent increase of the United States army, and many of the officers of the " old army" declined to seek promotion in the new regiments. At this period questions had arisen between the United States and Great Britain which caused serious anticipations of a war with that power, and led many to regard the additional force authorized as a preliminary step in preparation for such a war. Zachary Taylor, then in his twenty-fourth year, applied for a commission and was appointed a 1st lieutenant in the 7th infantry, one of the new regiments, and in 1810 was promoted to the grade of captain in the same regiment, according to the regulations of the service. He was happily married in 1810 to Miss Margaret Smith, of Calvert county, Maryland, who shared with him the privations and dangers of his many years of frontier service, and survived him but a short time. The troubles on the frontier continued to increase until 1811, when General William H. Harrison, afterward president of the United States, marched against the stronghold of the Shawnees and fought the battle of Tippecanoe.


In June, 1812, war was declared against England, and this increased the widespread and not unfounded fears of Indian invasion in the valley of the Wabash. To protect Vincennes from sudden assault, Captain Taylor was ordered to Fort Harrison, a stockade on the river above Vincennes, and with his company of infantry, about fifty strong, made preparations to defend the place. He had not long to wait. A large body of Indians, knowing the smallness of the garrison, came, confidently counting on its capture ; but as it is a rule in their warfare to seek by strata General to avoid equal risk and probable loss, they tried various expedients, which were foiled by the judgment, vigilance, and courage of the commander, and when the final attack was made, the brave little garrison repelled it with such loss to the assailants that when, in the following October, General Hopkins came to support Fort Harrison, no Indians were to be found thereabout. For the defense of Fort Harrison, Captain Taylor received the brevet of major, an honor that had seldom, if ever before, been conferred for service in Indian war. In the following November, Major Taylor, with a battalion of regulars, formed a part of the command of General Hopkins in the expedition against the hostile Indians at the head-waters of the Wabash. In 1814, with his separate command, he being then a major by commission, he made a campaign against the hostile Indians and their British allies on Rock river, which was so successful as to give subsequent security to that immediate frontier. In such service, not the less hazardous or indicative of merit because on a small scale, he passed the period of his employment on that frontier until the treaty of peace with Great Britain disposed the Indians to be quiet.



After the war, 3 March, 1815, a law was enacted to fix the military peace establishment of the United States. By this act the whole force was to be reduced to 10,000 men, with such proportions of artillery, infantry, and riflemen as the president should judge proper. The president was to cause the officers and men of the existing army to be arranged, by unrestricted transfers, so as to form the corps authorized by the recent act, and the supernumeraries were to be discharged. Major Taylor had borne the responsibilities and performed the duties of a battalion commander so long and successfully that when the arranging board reduced him to the rank of captain in the new organization he felt the injustice, but resigned from the army without complaint, returned home, and proceeded, as he said in after-years, "to make a crop of corn." Influences that were certainly not employed by him, and are unknown to the writer of this sketch, caused his restoration to the grade of major, and he resumed his place in the army, there to continue until the voice of the people called him to the highest office within their gift. Under the rules that governed promotion in the army, Major Taylor became lieutenant-colonel of the 1st infantry, and commanded at Fort Snelling, then the advanced post in the northwest.



In 1832 he became colonel of the 1st infantry, with headquarters at Fort Crawford, Prairie du Chien. The barracks were unfinished, and his practical mind and conscientious attention to every duty were manifest in the progress and completion of the work. The second Black Hawk campaign occurred this year, and Colonel Taylor, with the greater part of his regiment, joined the army commanded by General Henry Atkinson, and with it moved from Rock Island up the valley of Rock river, following Black Hawk, who had gone to make a junction with the Pottawattamie band of the Prophet, a nephew of Black Hawk. This was in violation of the treaty he had made with General Edmund P. Gaines in 1831, by which he was required to remove to the west of the Mississippi, relinquishing all claim to the Rock river villages. It was assumed that his purpose in returning to the east side of the river was hostile, and, from the defenseless condition of the settlers and the horror of savage atrocity, great excitement was created, due rather to his fame as a warrior than to the number of his followers. If, as he subsequently declared, his design was to go and live peaceably with his nephew, the Prophet, rather than with the Foxes, of whom Keokuk was the chief, that design may have been frustrated by the lamentable mistake of some mounted volunteers in hastening forward in pursuit of Black Hawk, who, with his band--men, women, and children--was going up on the south side of the Rock river." The pursuers fell into an ambuscade, and were routed with some loss and in great confusion. The event will be remembered by the men of that day as"Stillman's run."




Zachary Taylor Sketch at lake Okee-cho-bee


The vanity of the young Indians was inflated by their success, as was shown by some exultant messages; and the sagacious old chief, whatever he may have previously calculated upon, now saw that war was inevitable and immediate. With his band recruited by warriors from the Prophet's band, he crossed to the north side of Rock river, and, passing through the swamp Koshkenong, fled over the prairies west of the Four Lakes, toward Wisconsin river. General Henry Dodge, with a battalion of mounted miners, overtook the Indians while they were crossing the Wisconsin and attacked their rear-guard, which, when the main body had crossed, swam the river and joined the retreat over the Kickapoo hills toward the Mississippi. General Atkinson, with his whole army, continued the pursuit, and, after a toilsome march, overtook the Indians north of Prairie du Chien, on the bank of the Mississippi, to the west side of which they were preparing to cross in bark canoes made on the spot. That purpose was foiled by the accidental arrival of a steamboat with a small gun on board. The Indians took cover in a willow marsh, and there was fought the battle of the Bad Axe. The Indians were defeated, and dispersed, and the campaign ended. In the mean time, General Winfield Scott, with troops from the east, took chief command and established his headquarters at Rock Island, and thither General Atkinson went with the regular troops, except that part of the 1st infantry which constituted the garrison of Fort Crawford.



With these Colonel Taylor returned to Prairie du Chien. When it was reported that the Indians were on an island above the prairie, he sent a lieutenant with an appropriate command to explore the island, where unmistakable evidence was found of the recent presence of the Indians and of their departure. Immediately thereafter a group of Indians appeared on the east bank of the river under a white flag, who proved to be Black Hawk, with a remnant of his band and a few friendly Winnebagoes. The lieutenant went with them to the fort, where Colonel Taylor received them, except the Winnebagoes, as prisoners. A lieutenant and a guard were sent with them, sixty in number--men, women, and children--by steamboat, to Rock Island, there to report to General Scott for orders in regard to the prisoners. Colonel Taylor actively participated in the campaign up to its close, and to him was surrendered the chief who had most illustrated the warlike instincts of the Indian race, to whom history must fairly accord the credit of having done much under the most disadvantageous circumstances. In 1836 Colonel Taylor was ordered to Florida for service in the Seminole war, and the next year he defeated the Indians in the decisive battle of Okechobee, for which he received the brevet of brigadier-general, and in 1838 was appointed to the chief command in Florida. In 1840 he was assigned to command the southern division of the western department of the army. Though General Taylor had for many years been a cotton-planter, his family had lived with him at his military station, but, when ordered for an indefinite time on field service, he made his family home at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.



Texas having been annexed to the United States in 1845, Mexico threatened to invade Texas with the avowed purpose to recover the territory, and General Taylor was ordered to defend it as a part of the United States. He proceeded with all his available force, about 1,500 men, to Corpus Christi, where he was joined by re-enforcements of regulars and volunteers. Discussion had arisen as to whether the Nueces or the Rio Grande was the proper boundary of Texas. His political opinions, whatever they might be, were subordinate to the duty of a soldier to execute the orders of his government, and, without uttering it, he acted on the apophthegmatic of Decatur: " My country, right or wrong, my country." Texas claimed protection for her frontier, the president recognized the fact that Texas had been admitted to the Union with the Rio Grande as her boundary, and General Taylor was instructed to advance to that river. His force had been increased to about 4,000, when. on 8 March, 1846, he marched front Corpus Christi. He was of course conscious of the inadequacy of his division to resist such an army as Mexico might send against it, but when ordered by superior authority it was not his to remonstrate. General Gaines, commanding the western department, had made requisitions for a sufficient number of volunteers to join Taylor, but the secretary of war countermanded them, except as to such as had already joined.





General Taylor, with a main depot at Point Isabel, advanced to the bank of the Rio Grande, opposite to Matamoras, and there made provision for defense of the place called Fort Brown. Soon after his arrival, Ampudia, the Mexican general at Matamoras, made a threatening demand that General Taylor should withdraw his troops beyond the Nueces, to which he replied that his position had been taken by order of his government, and would be maintained. Having completed the entrenchment, and being short of supplies, he left a garrison to hold it, and marched with an aggregate force of 2,288 men to obtain additional supplies from Point Isabel, about thirty miles distant. General Arista, the new Mexican commander, availing himself of the opportunity to interpose, crossed the river below Fort Brown with a force estimated at 6,000 regular troops, 10 pieces of artillery, and a considerable amount of auxiliaries.



In the afternoon of the second day's march from Point Isabel these were reported by General Taylor's cavalry to be in his front, and he halted to allow the command to rest and for the needful dispositions for battle. In the evening a request was made that a council of war should be held, to which General Taylor assented. The prevalent opinion was in favor of falling back to Point Isabel, there to entrench and wait for re-enforcements. After listening to a full expression of views, the general announced: "I shall go to Fort Brown or stay in my shoes," a western expression equivalent to "or die in the attempt." He then notified the officers to prepare to attack the enemy at dawn of day.



In the morning of 8 May the advance was made by columns until the enemy's batteries opened, when line of battle was formed and Taylor's artillery, inferior in number but otherwise superior, was brought fully into action and soon dispersed the mass of the enemy's cavalry. The chaparral, dense copses of thorn-bushes, served both to conceal the position of the enemy and to impede the movements of the attacking force. The action closed at night, when the enemy retired, and General Taylor bivouacked on the field. Early in the morning of 9 May he resumed his march, and in the afternoon encountered General Arista in a strong position with artillery advantageously posted. Taylor's infantry pushed through the chaparral lining both sides of the road, and drove the enemy's infantry before them; but the batteries held their position, and were so fatally used that it was an absolute necessity to capture them. For this purpose the general ordered a squadron of dragoons to charge them. The enemy's gunners were cut down at their pieces, the commanding officer was captured, and the infantry soon made the victory complete. The Mexican loss in the two battles was estimated at a thousand ; the American, killed, forty-nine. The enemy precipitately re-crossed the Rio Grande, leaving the usual evidence of a routed army. General Taylor then proceeded to Fort Brown. During his absence it had been heavily bombarded, and the commander, Major Brown, had been killed. The Mexicans evacuated Matamoras, and General Taylor took peaceable possession, 18 May.



The Rio Grande, except at time of flood, offered little obstacle to predatory incursions, and it was obviously sound policy to press the enemy back from the border. General Taylor, therefore, moved forward to Camargo, on the San Juan, a tributary of the Rio Grande. This last-named river rose so as to enable steamboats to transport troops and supplies, and by September a sufficiently large force of volunteers had reported at General Taylor's headquarters to justify a further march into the interior, but the move must be by hind, and for that there was far from adequate transportation. Hiring Mexican packers to supplement the little transportation on hand, he was able to add one division of volunteers to the regulars of his command, and with a force of 6,625 men of all arms he marched against Monterey, a fortified town of great natural strength, garrisoned by 10,000 men under General Ampudia. On 19 September he encamped before the town, and on the 2lst began the attack. On the third day General Ampudia proposed to surrender, commissioners were appointed, and terms of capitulation agreed upon, by which the enemy were to retire beyond a specified line, and the United States forces were not to advance beyond that line during the next eight weeks or until the pleasure of the respective governments should be known. By some strange misconception, the United States government disapproved the arrangements, and ordered that the armistice should be terminated, by which we lost whatever had been gained in the interests of peace by the generous terms of the capitulation, and got nothing, for, during the short time that remained unexpired, no provision had been or could be made to enable General Taylor to advance into the heart of Mexico.



Presuming that such must be the purpose of the government, he assiduously strove to collect the means for that object. When his preparations were well-nigh perfected, General Scott was sent to Mexico with orders that enabled him at discretion to strip General Taylor of both troops and material of war, to be used on another line of operations. The projected campaign against the capital of Mexico was to be from Vera Cruz, up the steppes, and against the fortifications that had been built to resist any probable invasion, instead of from Saltillo, across the plains to the comparatively undefended capital. The difficulty on this route was the waterless space to be crossed, and against that General Taylor had ingeniously provided. According to instructions, he went to Victoria, Mexico, turned over his troops, except a proper escort to return through a country of hostiles to Monterey, and then went to Agua Nueva, beyond Saltillo, where he was joined by General John E. Wool with his command from Chihuahua.

General Santa-Anna saw the invitation offered by the withdrawal of General Taylor's troops, and with a well-appointed army, 20,000 strong, marched with the assurance of easily recovering their lost territory. General Taylor fell back to the narrow pass in front of the hacienda of Buena Vista, and here stood on the defensive. His force was 5,400 of all arms ; but of these, only three batteries of artillery, one squadron of dragoons, one mounted company of Texans, and one regiment of Mississippi riflemen, had ever been under fire. Some skirmishing occurred on 22 February, and a general assault along the whole line was made on the morning of the 23d. The battle, with varying fortune, continued throughout the day; at evening the enemy retired, and during the night retreated by the route on which he had advanced, having suffered much by the casualties of battle, but still more by desertions. So Santa-Anna returned with but a remnant of the regular army of Mexico, on which reliance had been placed to repel invasion, and thenceforward peace was undisturbed in the valley of the Rio Grande. At that time General Taylor's capacity was not justly estimated, his golden silence being often misunderstood.


Zachary Taylor (1784-1850), Presidential Autograph letter signed ("Z. Taylor")  to Professor Alexander Dallas Bache (1806-1867) dated, Washington City, DC, 23 June 1849.  "This will be handed you by Mr. Ethelber F. Mason who is about engaging in the Coast Survey under your supervision; Mr. M. comes highly recommended to me by an esteemed and valued friend who takes a deep interest in his success, and presents him to me as a young gentleman of great merit, modesty and entirely exemplary in morals &c, besides being substantially educated as to prepare him for the duty he is about to enter on. And aid and advice it may be proper for you to give him as regards his duty, or occupation or any attention of a personal character you may be able to extend to him will [be] gratefully acknowledged by his friends..."
His reply to Sec. Marcy's strictures in regard to the capitulation of Monterey exhibited such vigor of thought and grace of expression that many attributed it to a member of his staff who had a literary reputation. It was written by General Taylor's own hand in the open air, by his camp-fire at Victoria, Mexico. Many years of military routine had not dulled his desire for knowledge; he had extensively studied both ancient and modern history, especially the English. Unpretending, meditative, observant, and conclusive, he was best understood and most appreciated by those who had known him long and intimately. In a campaign he gathered information from all who approached him, however sinister their motive might be. By comparison and elimination he gained a knowledge that was often surprising as to the position and designs of the enemy. In battle he was vigilantly active, though quiet in bearing; calm and considerate, though stern and inflexible ; but when the excitement of danger and strife had subsided, he had a father's tenderness and care for the wounded, and none more sincerely mourned for those who had bravely fallen in the line of their duty.

Before his nomination for the presidency General Taylor had no political aspirations and looked forward to the time when he should retire from the army as the beginning of a farmer's life. He had planned for his retreat a stock-farm in the hills of Jefferson county, behind his cotton-plantation on the Mississippi river. In his case, as in some other notable instances, the fact of not desiring office rather increased than diminished popular confidence, so that un-seeking he was sought.




From early manhood he had served continually in the United States army. His duties had led him to consider the welfare of the country as one and indivisible, and his opinions were free from party or sectional intensity. Conscious of his want of knowledge of the machinery of the civil service, he formed his cabinet to supplement his own information. They were men well known to the public by the eminent civil stations they had occupied, and were only thus known to General Taylor, who as president had literally no friends to reward and no enemies to punish. The cabinet was constituted as follows: John M. Clayton, of Delaware, secretary of state ; William M. Meredith, of Pennsylvania, secretary of the treasury; George W. Crawford, of Georgia, secretary of war; W. Ballard Preston, of Virginia, secretary of the navy ; Rev. Johnson, of Maryland, attorney-general; Alexander H. H. Stuart, of Virginia, secretary of the interior.


Zachary Taylor President of the United States 1849. Bronze Peace and friendship Medal - ZACHARY TAYLOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES 1849. Bust of President Taylor, facing the left. PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP. Two hands clasped in token of amity; on the cuff of the left wrist three stripes, and buttons with the American eagle on them; the other wrist bare; above the hands, a calumet and tomahawk crossed—Indian emblems of peace and war. - OBVERSE  



The obverse of this medal, though not signed, was engraved by Franklin Peale, as may be seen by the following extract from a dispatch of R. M. Patterson, director of the Mint, to Orlando Brown, office of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, and dated Philadelphia, November 26th, 1849.


All these had served in the United States senate or the house of representatives, and all were lawyers. Taylor was the popular hero of a foreign war which had been victoriously ended, bringing to the United States a large acquisition of territory with an alluring harvest of gold, but, all unheeded, bringing also a large addition to the elements of sectional contention. These were soon developed, and while the upper air was calm and the sun of prosperity shone brightly on the land, the attentive listener could hear the rumbling sound of approaching convulsion. President Taylor, with the keen watchfulness and intuitive perception that had characterized him as a commander in the field, easily saw and appreciated the danger; but before it had reached the stage for official action he died. His party and local relations, being a Whig and a southern planter, gave him the vantage-ground for the exercise of a restraining influence in the threatened contest. His views, matured under former responsibilities, were tersely given to confidential friends, and as none of his cabinet (except Attorney-General Stuart) survive, their consultations cannot be learned unless from preserved manuscript. During the brief period of his administration the rules that would govern it were made manifest, and no law for civil-service reform was needful for his guidance. With him the bestowal of office was a trust held for the people: it was not to be gained by proof of party zeal and labor. The fact of holding Democratic opinions was not a disqualification for the office. Nepotism had with him no quarter. So strict was he in this that to be a relative was an obstacle to appointment. General Winfield Scott related to the writer an anecdote that may appropriately close this sketch. He said he had remarked to his wife that General Taylor was an upright man, to which she replied: "He is not"; that he insisted his long acquaintance should enable him to judge better than she. But she persisted in her denial, and he asked:"Then what manner of man is he?" When she responded: "He is a downright man."


Zachary Taylor - Original pictorial rough and ready melodies. No. 3, Old Zack Taylor is the man! Related Names:     Horton, Tudor.     T. Horton & Co. Date Created/Published: New-York : Published by Horton & Co. Engravers and Publishers, 1848. Medium: 1 print : wood engraving with letterpress, on wove paper ; 25.4 x 18.8 cm. (image) Summary: A comic illustrated Whig campaign song sheet, showing Uncle Sam banishing the Democrats from the White House, to make way for Zachary Taylor. The eighteen-stanza song, sung to the tune of "Yankee Doodle," extolls Taylor's patriotism and deplores the evils of the Polk administration. Accordingly, the picture shows Polk and his cabinet fleeing with bundles marked "Spoils," "To Patch Up a Fortune" (carried by Secretary of War William A Marcy, wearing a trouser patch inscribed "50" on the seat of his pants; see "Executive Mercy/Marcy and the Bambers," no. 1838-5), and "One of the Walkers" (no doubt Polk's Secretary of the Treasury Robert J. Walker). They are chased by an oddly dressed Uncle Sam (center), who wears a hat with a "76" on it and knee-breeches. To the right of Uncle Sam stands Zachary Taylor, holding the "Lease to Uncle Sam's Farm from March 4th '49 to Mar. 4th '53." At left Democratic presidential candidate Lewis Cass has one leg over a fence, as he tries to climb onto the White House grounds unnoticed. Uncle Sam warns him, "You look very pretty, Mr. Gass, but you can't come in; I've had so many of your sort already that I hardly know my own farm." - Image from Library of Congress Collection


As president he had purity, patriotism, and discretion to guide him in his new field of duty, and had he lived long enough to stamp his character on his administration, it would have been found that the great soldier was equally fitted to be the head of a government. General Taylor's life was written by Joseph R. Fry and Robert T. Conrad (Philadelphia, 1848) and by John Frost (New York, 1848).

His wife, Margaret Taylor, born in Calvert county, Maryland, about 1790; died near Pascagoula, Louisiana, 18 August, 1852, was the daughter of Walter Smith, a Maryland planter. She received a home education, married early in life, and. until her husband's election to the presidency, resided with him chiefly in garrisons or on the frontier. During the Florida war she established herself at Tampa bay, and did good service among the sick and wounded in the hospitals there. Mrs. Taylor was without social ambition, and when General Taylor became president she reluctantly accepted her responsibilities, regarding the office as a "plot to deprive her of her husband's society and to shorten his life by unnecessary care." She surrendered to her youngest daughter the superintendence of the household, and took no part in social duties.

--Her eldest daughter, Sarah Taylor, became the wife of Jefferson Davis. --Another daughter, Elizabeth Taylor, born in 1826, was educated in Philadelphia, married Major William W. S. Bliss in her nineteenth year, and, on her father's inauguration, became mistress of the White House. Mrs. Bliss, or Miss Betty, as she was popularly called, was a graceful and accomplished hostess, and, it is said, "did the honors of the establishment with the artlessness of a rustic belle and the grace of a duchess." After the death of her father in 1850, and her husband in 1853, she spent several years in retirement, subsequently marrying Philip Dandridge, of Winchester. Va., whom she survives.

-His only son, Richard Taylor, soldier, born in New Orleans, 27 January, 1826; died in New York city, 12 April. 1879, was sent to Edinburgh, Scotland, when thirteen years old, where he spent three years in studying the classics, and then a year in France. He entered the junior class at Yale in 1843, and was graduated there in 1845. He was a wide and voracious though a desultory reader. From college he went to his father's camp on the Rio Grande, and he was present at Palo Alto, and Resaca de la Palma. His health then became impaired, and he returned home. He resided on a cotton-plantation in Jefferson county, Mississippi, until 1849, when he removed to a sugar-estate in St. Charles parish, Louisiana, about twenty miles above New Orleans, where he was residing when the civil war began. He was in the state senate from 1856 to 1860, was a delegate to the Charleston Democratic convention in 1860, and afterward to that at Baltimore, and was a member of the Secession convention of Louisiana. As a member of the military committee, he aided the governor in organizing troops, and in June, 1861, went to Virginia as colonel of the 9th Louisiana volunteers. The day he reached Richmond he left for Manassas, arriving there at dusk on the day of the battle. In the autumn he was made a brigadier-general, and in the spring of 1862 he led his brigade in the valley campaign under " Stonewall" Jackson. He distinguished himself at Front Royal, Middletown, Winchester, Strasburg, Cross Keys, and Port Republic, and Jackson recommended him for promotion. Taylor was also with Jackson in the seven days' battles before Richmond. He was promoted to major-general, and assigned to the command of Louisiana.

The fatigues and exposures of his campaigns there brought on a partial and temporary paralysis of the lower limbs; but in August he assumed command. Tile only communication across the Mississippi retained by the Confederates was between Vicksburg and Port Hudson ; but Taylor showed great ability in raising, organizing, supplying, and handling an army, and he gradually won back the state west of the Mississippi from the National forces. He had reclaimed the whole of this when Vicksburg fell, 4 July, 1863, and was then compelled to fall back west of Berwick's bay. General Taylor's principal achievement during the war was his defeat of General Nathaniel P. Banks at Sabine Cross-Roads, near Mansfield, De Soto parish, Louisiana, 8 April, 1864. With 8,000 men he attacked the advance of the northern army and routed it, capturing twenty-two guns and a large number of prisoners. He followed Banks, who fell back to Pleasant hill, and on the next day again attacked him, when Taylor was defeated, losing the fruits of the first day's victory. These two days' fighting have been frequently compared to that of Shiloh--a surprise and defeat on the first day, followed by a substantial victory of the National forces on the second. In the summer of 1864 Taylor was promoted to be a lieutenant-general, and ordered to the command of the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, etc. Here he was able merely to protract the contest, while the great armies decided it. After Lee and Johnston capitulated there was nothing for him, and he surrendered to General Edward R. S. Canby, at Citronelle, 8 May, 1865. The war left Taylor ruined in fortune, and he soon went abroad. Returning home, he took part in politics as an adviser, and his counsel was held in special esteem by Samuel J. Tilden in his presidential canvass. During this period he wrote his memoir of the war, entitled "Destruction and Reconstruction" (New York, 1879).

His brother, Joseph Pannel Taylor, soldier, born near Louisville, Kentucky, 4 May, 1796 ; died in Washington, D. C., 29 June, 1864, served in the ranks on the Canadian frontier during the war of 1812, was appointed a lieutenant of United States infantry on 20 May, 1813, served through the war with Great Britain, and was retained on the peace establishment as lieutenant of artillery, becoming a captain in July, 1825. He was appointed commissary of subsistence in 1829, and thenceforth served in that department, becoming assistant commissary-general, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, in 1841. On 30 May, 1848, he was brevetted colonel for his services in prosecuting the war with Mexico, during which he was chief commissary of the army on the upper line of operations. In September, 1861, he was made colonel and commissary-general, and on 9 February, 1863, was promoted brigadier-general. His wife was a daughter of Justice John McLean.

Their son, John McLean Taylor, soldier, born in Washington, D. C., 21 November, 1828; died in Baltimore, Maryland, 21 November, 1875, entered the United States army as 2d lieutenant in the 3d artillery on 3 March, 1848, and was promoted 1st lieutenant on 30 June, 1851, and captain and commissary of subsistence on 11 May, 1851. He served faithfully in his department during the civil war, becoming major on 9 February, 1863, and receiving the brevets of lieutenant-colonel and colonel to date from 13 March, 1865.-

Another son, Joseph Hancock Taylor, soldier, born in Kentucky, 26 January, 1836; died in Omaha, Nebraska, 13 March, 1885, was graduated at the United States military academy in 1856, and commissioned 2d lieutenant of cavalry on 16 January, 185'7. He served in Kansas, in the Utah expedition, and in a campaign in 1860 against the Kiowa and Comanche Indians of Colorado. He was promoted 1st lieutenant on 22 April, 1861, and captain on 14 May, and was appointed acting adjutant-general of General Edwin V. Sumner's division on 27 November, 1861. During the peninsula campaign, and subsequently in the Maryland campaign, he served as acting assistant adjutant-general of the 2d corps, winning the brevet of major at Fair Oaks, and that of lieutenant-colonel at the Antietam. He was assistant adjutant-general at Fredericksburg, and assistant inspector-general of cavalry in Stoneman's raid. On 1 June, 1863, he was assigned to duty as assistant adjutant-general of the department at Washington. He was appointed a major on the staff on 30 March, 1866, and on 13 August was brevetted colonel for faithful services during the war. He was on duty in different military departments till his death, which was due to disease that he had contracted in the line of duty.



By: Stanley Yavneh Klos
  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.


The First United American Republic
Continental Congress of the United Colonies Presidents 
Sept. 5, 1774 to July 1, 1776


September 5, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 26, 1774
May 20, 1775
May 24, 1775
May 25, 1775
July 1, 1776


The Second United American Republic
Continental Congress of the United States Presidents 
July 2, 1776 to February 28, 1781

July 2, 1776
October 29, 1777
November 1, 1777
December 9, 1778
December 10, 1778
September 28, 1779
September 29, 1779
February 28, 1781


Commander-in-Chief United Colonies & States of America

George Washington: June 15, 1775 - December 23, 1783


The Third United American Republic
Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled
March 1, 1781 to March 3, 1789

March 1, 1781
July 6, 1781
July 10, 1781
Declined Office
July 10, 1781
November 4, 1781
November 5, 1781
November 3, 1782
November 4, 1782
November 2, 1783
November 3, 1783
June 3, 1784
November 30, 1784
November 22, 1785
November 23, 1785
June 5, 1786
June 6, 1786
February 1, 1787
February 2, 1787
January 21, 1788
January 22, 1788
January 21, 1789





The Fourth United American Republic
Presidents of the United States of America









Chart Comparing Presidential Powers 
of  America's Four United Republics - Click Here


United Colonies and States First Ladies


1774-1788


United Colonies Continental Congress
President
18th Century Term
Age
09/05/74 – 10/22/74
29
Mary Williams Middleton (1741- 1761) Deceased
Henry Middleton
10/22–26/74
n/a
05/20/ 75 - 05/24/75
30
05/25/75 – 07/01/76
28
United States Continental Congress
President
Term
Age
07/02/76 – 10/29/77
29
Eleanor Ball Laurens (1731- 1770) Deceased
Henry Laurens
11/01/77 – 12/09/78
n/a
Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802)
12/ 10/78 – 09/28/78
21
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
09/29/79 – 02/28/81
41
United States in Congress Assembled
President
Term
Age
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
03/01/81 – 07/06/81
42
07/10/81 – 11/04/81
25
Jane Contee Hanson (1726-1812)
11/05/81 - 11/03/82
55
11/03/82 - 11/02/83
46
Sarah Morris Mifflin (1747-1790)
11/03/83 - 11/02/84
36
11/20/84 - 11/19/85
46
11/23/85 – 06/06/86
38
Rebecca Call Gorham (1744-1812)
06/06/86 - 02/01/87
42
02/02/87 - 01/21/88
43
01/22/88 - 01/29/89
36



Constitution of 1787
First Ladies
President
Term
Age
April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797
57
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
52
Martha Wayles Jefferson Deceased
September 6, 1782  (Aged 33)
n/a
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
40
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
48
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
50
December 22, 1828 (aged 61)
n/a
February 5, 1819 (aged 35)
n/a
March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
65
April 4, 1841 – September 10, 1842
50
June 26, 1844 – March 4, 1845
23
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
41
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
60
July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853
52
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
46
n/a
n/a
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
42
February 22, 1862 – May 10, 1865
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
54
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877
43
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
45
March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
48
January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
n/a
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
21
March 4, 1889 – October 25, 1892
56
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
28
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
49
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
40
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
47
March 4, 1913 – August 6, 1914
52
December 18, 1915 – March 4, 1921
43
March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
60
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
44
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
54
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
48
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
60
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
56
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
31
November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
50
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
56
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
56
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
49
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
59
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
63
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
45
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
54
January 20, 2009 to date
45








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2 comments:

  1. Zachary Taylor was the 12th President, not the 17th.

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