Miller Center

American President

Zachary Taylor (1784–1850)

Portrait of Zachary Taylor

Facts at a Glance

Term
12th President of the United States (1849–1850)
Born
November 24, 1784, near Barboursville, Virginia
Nickname
"Old Rough and Ready"
Religion
Episcopalian
Marriage
June 21, 1810, to Margaret Mackall Smith (1788–1852)
Children
Ann Margaret Mackall (1811–1875), Sarah Knox (1814–1835), Octavia Pannill (1816–1820), Margaret Smith (1819–1820), Mary Elizabeth (1824–1909), Richard (1826–1879)
Career
Soldier
Political Party
Whig
Writings
Letters of Zachary Taylor (1908)
Died
July 9, 1850, Washington, D.C.
Buried
Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, near Louisville, Kentucky
A Life in Brief
At the time he became President, Zachary Taylor was the most popular man in America, a hero of the Mexican-American War. However, at a time when Americans were confronting the explosive issue of slavery, he was probably not the right man for the job. More »
In all disputes between conflicting governments it is our interest not less than our duty to remain strictly neutral . . . .
March 5, 1849

Essays on Zachary Taylor and His Administration

Zachary Taylor
A Life in Brief
Life Before the Presidency
Campaigns and Elections
Domestic Affairs
Foreign Affairs
Death of the President
Family Life
The American Franchise
Impact and Legacy
Key Events
First Lady
Margaret Taylor
Vice President
Millard Fillmore (1849–1850)
Secretary of State
John M. Clayton (1849–1850)
Secretary of War
George W. Crawford (1849–1850)
Postmaster General
Jacob Collamer (1849–1850)
Secretary of the Interior
Thomas Ewing (1849–1850)
Secretary of the Treasury
William M. Meredith (1849–1850)
Attorney General
Reverdy Johnson (1849–1850)
Secretary of the Navy
William B. Preston (1849–1850)

Consulting Editor: Michael F. Holt

Professor Holt is the Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia. His writings include:

The Civil War and Reconstruction (Co-authored with Jean H. Baker and David Herbert Donald, W.W. Norton, 2001)

The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War (Oxford University Press, 1999)

Political Parties and American Political Development from the age of Jackson to the age of Lincoln (Louisiana State University Press, 1992)