Zachary Taylor
12th President of the United States

(1845 - 1850)
Vice President: Millard Fillmore


President: Zachary Taylor

Wife: Margaret Mackall Smith (1788-1852), on June 21, 1810

Kids: Ann Mackall Taylor (1811-75); Sarah Knox Taylor (1814-35); Octavia P. Taylor (1816-20); Margaret Smith Taylor (1819-20); Mary Elizabeth Taylor (1824-1909); Richard Taylor (1826-79)

Pets: Old Whitey the horse

Bio: Zachary Taylor, (1784-1850), second cousin of James Madison and descendant of a Mayflower Pilgrim, was the 12th President Of The United States. Born in Orange county, Virginia, on Nov. 24, 1784, he was one of 10 children. As an infant, he was taken to Kentucky and he grew up on a farm near Louisville. He had very little formal schooling.

In 1808, Taylor began a long and successful military career when he was commissioned a first lieutenant of infantry. Two years later he married Margaret Mackall Smith of Calvert county, Maryland. After having served in the War of 1812, he served in the states or future states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Promoted to colonel in 1832, he fought in the Black Hawk War, participating in the Battle of Bad Axe. In 1838, he became a brigadier general and he commanded all U. S. troops in Florida.

He led his troops to major victories in the Mexican war, resulting in a promotion to major general, becoming a national hero. The Battle of Buena Vista on Feb. 22-23, 1847, was the crowning achievement of Taylor’s military career and bolstered him to a position where the presidency was in reach. The Whig party nominated him as its presidential candidate in June 1848, and he was duly elected. The defining issue of his presidency was slavery. Southern senators and representatives wanted to extend the legality of slavery to the Pacific states and territories. Although he was a slave owner himself, Taylor strongly opposed anti-extension, as did the Northern congressman. Chaos often reigned in Washington during those months and years when there was extreme hostility in the halls of Congress. Politicians carried weapons and fist fights often broke out in Congress. Taylor died of cholera in office on July 9, 1850, when the national crisis was particularly acute.

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