Miller Center

Bibliography — Zachary Taylor (1784 - 1850)

Historical Context Papers / Memoirs Biographies
Administration Major Issues Elections
Contemporaries Recent Publications Bibliographies

Zachary Taylor

Historical Context

Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. The Age of Jackson. Boston: Little, Brown, 1945.

Nevins, Allan. Ordeal of the Union. 2 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1947.

Volume one covers the time period of 1847-1852.

Potter, David M. The Impending Crisis 1848-1861. New York: Harper & Row, 1976.

Holt, Michael F. The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

An ambitious history of the Whig party that is the standard work on the subject.

Freehling, William. The Road to Disunion: Secessionists at Bay, 1776-1854. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Taylor Papers and Memoirs

Taylor, Zachary. Letters of Zachary Taylor from the Battlefields of the Mexican War. Edited by William H. Samson. 1908. Reprint, New York: Kraus Print Co., 1970.

Limited to Taylor's service in the Mexican War.

Richardson, James D. A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1908. 11 vols. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1908.

Contains complete texts of inauguration addresses, proclamations, executive orders and other state papers.

For a fuller discussion of Taylor's papers see the Public and Private Papers section of our website.

Taylor Biographies

Bauer, Karl Jack. Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985.

The standard biography of Taylor.

Dyer, Brainerd. Zachary Taylor. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1946.

Hamilton, Holman. Zachary Taylor: Soldier of the Republic. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1941.

Hamilton, Holman. Zachary Taylor: Soldier in the White House. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1951.

Smith, Elbert B. The Presidencies of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1989.

From the American Presidency Series; a series dedicated to providing a consistent, scholarly treatment of each president. Coverage is limited to the years in office.

Taylor Administration and Advisors (1849-1850)

For cabinet members not listed below, please see: Grossman, Mark. Encyclopedia of the United States Cabinet. 3 vols. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2000.

John M. Clayton (Secretary of State)

Comegys, Joseph Parsons. Memoir of John M. Clayton. Wilmington: The Historical Society of Delaware, 1882.

Jacob Collamer (Postmaster General)

Fowler, Dorothy Ganfield. The Cabinet Politician: The Postmasters General, 1829-1909. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943.

Millard Fillmore (Vice President)

Rayback, Robert. Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President. Buffalo: Buffalo Historical Society, 1959.

Fillmore's only full biography.

Grayson, Benson Lee. The Unknown President: The Administration of Millard Fillmore. Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1981.

Smith, Elbert B. The Presidencies of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore. Lawrence, Kans.: University Press of Kansas, 1989.

From the American Presidency Series; a series dedicated to providing a consistent, scholarly treatment of each president. Coverage is limited to the years in office.

Fillmore, Millard. Millard Fillmore Papers. 2 vols. Edited by Frank Severance. 1907. Reprint, New York: Kraus Reprint, 1970.

See online bibliography of Millard Fillmore for more information.

Reverdy Johnson (Attorney General)

Steiner, Bernard. The Life of Reverdy Johnson. Baltimore: Norman Remington Co., 1914.

Margaret Smith Taylor (First Lady)

Gould, Lewis L., ed. American First Ladies: Their Lives and their Legacy. New York: Routledge, 2001.

Contains essays on each First Lady from Martha Washington through Laura Bush.

Major Issues in the Taylor Administration

Foreign Relations (General)

Varg, Paul. United States Foreign Relations, 1820-1860. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1979.

Manifest Destiny

Weinberg, Albert K. Manifest Destiny: A Study of Nationalist Expansionism in American History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1935.

The classic study of Manifest Destiny.

Merk, Frederick. Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History: A Reinterpretation. New York: Knopf, 1963.

Merk's challenge to Weinberg.

Merk, Frederick. The Monroe Doctrine and American Expansionism, 1843-1849. New York: Knopf, 1966.

A companion to Merk's volume on Manifest Destiny.

Perkins, Dexter. The Monroe Doctrine, 1826-1867. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1933.

The Mexican War and Southwest Expansionism

Pletcher, David M. The Diplomacy of Annexation: Texas, Oregon and the Mexican War. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1973.

Smith, Justin H. The War with Mexico. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1919.

A classic study of the Mexican-American War.

Johannsen, Robert W. To the Halls of the Montezumas: The Mexican War in the American Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

An analysis of the socio-cultural effects of the Mexican-American War.

California and the Compromise of 1850

Harlow, Neal. California Conquered: The Annexation of a Mexican Province, 1846-1850. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.

Stegmaier, Mark Joseph. Texas, New Mexico, and the Compromise of 1850: Boundary Dispute & Sectional Crisis. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1996.

Hamilton, Holman. Prologue to Conflict: The Crisis and Compromise of 1850. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1964.

Waugh, John C. On the Brink of Civil War: the Compromise of 1850 and How it Changed the Course of American History. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 2003.

The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty

Williams, Mary. Anglo-American Isthmian Diplomacy: 1815-1915. 1916. Reprint, Gloucester, Mass.: P. Smith, 1965.

Travis, Ira Dudley. The History of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty. Ann Arbor, Mich.: The Association, 1900.

An often difficult volume to find.

Barnes, James and Patience Barnes, eds. Private and Confidential: Letters from British Ministers in Washington to the Foreign Secretaries in London, 1844-67. Selinsgrove, PA: Susquehanna University Press, 1993.

Slavery

Berlin, Ira. Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003.

A detailed account of the history of slavery beginning with the arrival of the first slaves in the seventeenth century.

Nye, Russel B. Fettered Freedom: Civil Liberties and the Slavery Controversy, 1830-1860. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, rev. ed. 1963.

Litwack, Leon F. North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States, 1790-1860. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961.

Wyatt-Brown, Bertram. Honor and Violence in the Old South. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Examines Southern life and values; a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History.

Indian Affairs

Prucha, Francis Paul. The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984.

General survey of United States Indian policy from one of the leading scholars on the subject.

Prucha, Francis Paul. American Indian Treaties: The History of a Political Anomaly. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.

Phillips, George. Indians and Indian Agents: The Origins of the Reservation System in California, 1849-1852. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997.

Politics and Political Parties

Brock, William R. Parties and Political Conscience: American Dilemmas, 1840-1850. Millwood, NY: KTO Press, 1979.

Cooper, William Jr. The South and the Politics of Slavery, 1828-1856. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978.

Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr., ed. History of U. S. Political Parties. 5 vols. New York: Chelsea House, 2002.

Brief essays on political parties from the Federalists to the 1992-2001 Reform party.

Elections

Rayback, Joseph G. Free Soil: The Election of 1848. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1970.

Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr., ed. History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-1968. 4 vols. New York: Chelsea House, 1971.

Includes brief essays, statistics and relevant documents on each presidential election from 1789 to 1968.

Taylor Contemporaries

Thomas Hart Benton (Democratic Senator)

Smith, Elbert B. Magnificent Missourian: The Life of Thomas Hart Benton. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1957.

More detailed and better documented than Chambers below.

Chambers, William Nisbet. Old Bullion Benton: Senator from the New West: Thomas Hart Benton, 1782-1858. Boston: Little Brown, 1956.

A briefer more “personal”' biography of Benton.

Benton, Thomas Hart. Thirty Years View: Or, a History of the Workings of the American Government for Thirty Years, from 1820 to 1850. 2 vols. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1854.

Benton's autobiography.

Francis Preston Blair (Politician; Free Soiler)

Smith, Elbert B. Francis Preston Blair. New York: Free Press, 1980.

Smith, William Ernest. The Francis Preston Blair Family in Politics. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1933.

James Buchanan (Democrat; Former Secretary of State, Former Senator)

Klein, Philip S. President James Buchanan: A Biography. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1962.

The standard “life” of Buchanan.

Binder, Frederick M. James Buchanan and the American Empire. Selinsgrove, Penn.: Susquehanna University Press, 1994.

Focuses on Buchanan's foreign policy views both before and during his presidency.

Buchanan, James. The Works of James Buchanan. 12 vols. Edited by John Bassett Moore. 1908-1911. Reprint, New York: Antiquarian Press, 1960.

See online bibliography of James Buchanan for more information.

John C. Calhoun (Southern Statesman)

Wiltse, Chalres M. John C. Calhoun, Nationalist, 1782-1828. Indianalpolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1944.

Wiltse, Chalres M. John C. Calhoun, Nullifier, 1829-1839. Indianalpolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1949.

Wiltse, Chalres M. John C. Calhoun, Sectionalist, 1840-1850. Indianalpolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1951.

Traditionally, the standard “life” of Calhoun.

Niven, John John C. Calhoun and the Price of Union. Baton Rouge: Lousiana State University Press, 1988.

A more recent challenge to Wiltse's work.

Calhoun, John C. Papers of John C. Calhoun. 27 vols. Edited by Robert L. Meriwether, et al. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1959-2003.

The authoritative collection of Calhoun papers.

Lewis Cass (1948 Democratic Presidential Candidate)

Klunder, Willard. Lewis Cass and the Politics of Moderation. Kent, Ohio, Kent State University Press, 1996.

Henry Clay (Statesman; Whig leader)

Peterson, Merrill D. The Great Triumvirate: Webster, Clay and Calhoun. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

An overview of the three “big” Whigs.

Van Deusen, Glyndon G. The Life of Henry Clay. Boston: Little, Brown, 1937.

The classic Clay biography.

Remini, Robert V. Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union. New York: Norton, 1991.

The new standard Clay biography.

Clay, Henry. Papers of Henry Clay. 11 vols. Edited by James F. Hopkins, et al. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1959-1992.

The authoritative collection of Clay papers.

John J. Crittenden (Statesman)

Kirwan, Albert D. John J. Crittenden: The Struggle for the Union. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1962.

The definitive biography of Crittenden.

Coleman, Ann Mary Butler Crittenden, ed. The Life of John J. Crittenden, with Selections from His Correspondence and Speeches. 2 vols. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1871.

A contemporary account of Crittenden's life.

Jefferson Davis (Southern Statesman)

Cooper, William. Jefferson Davis, American. New York: Knopf, 2000.

Davis, William C. Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour. New York: Harper Collins, 1991.

Davis, Jefferson. The Papers of Jefferson Davis. Edited by James T. McIntoch. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981.

The authoritative collection of Davis papers. Publication is ongoing.

Stephen A. Douglas (Senator; Democratic leader)

Johannsen, Robert W. Stephen A. Douglas. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.

Horace Greeley (Editor of New York Tribune)

Van Deusen, Glyndon G. Horace Greeley: Nineteenth-Century Crusader. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953.

Greeley, Horace. Recollections of a Busy Life. New York: J. B. Ford and Co., 1868.

James K. Polk (11th President of the United States)

Sellers, Charles C. James K. Polk: Jacksonian, 1795-1843. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1957.

Sellers, Charles C. James K. Polk: Continentalist, 1843-1846. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1966.

The standard “life” of Polk. Originally planned as a three-volume work.

Bergeron, Paul H. The Presidency of James K. Polk. Lawrence: Univeristy Press of Kansas, 1987.

From the American Presidency Series; a series dedicated to providing a consistent, scholarly treatment of each president. Coverage is limited to the years in office.

See online bibliography of James K. Polk for more information.

Benjamin Perley Poore (Editor of Boston Daily Bee)

Poore, Benjamin Perley. Perley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Hubbard Brothers, and New York: W. A. Houghton, 1886.

McClure, Alexander K. Recollections of a Half Century. Salem: Salem Press Co., 1902.

Winfield Scott ()

William Henry Seward (Sentator)

Van Deusen, Glyndon G. William Henry Seward. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Seward, William Henry. William H. Seward: An Autobiography, ed. Frederick W. Seward. New York: Derby & Miller, 1891.

Alexander Stephens (Georgia Congressman)

Abele, Rudolph R. Alexander H. Stephens. New York: A. A. Knopf, 1946.

Davis, William C. The Union that Shaped the Confederacy: Robert Toombs & Alexander H. Stephens. Lawrence, University Press of Kansas, 2001.

Stephens, Alexander. Reminiscences of Alexander H. Stephens. Edited by Myrta A. Avary. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1910.

Thaddeus Stevens (Pennsylvania Congressman)

Current, Richard. Old Thad Stevens. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1942.

Roger B. Taney (Supreme Court Chief Justice)

Lewis, Walker. Without Fear or Favor: A Biography of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965.

Swisher, Carl Brent. The Taney Period, 1836-1864. New York: Macmillan, 1974.

A detailed survey of Taney's tenure on the court.

Robert Toombs (Georgia Senator)

Thompson, William Y. Robert Toombs of Georgia. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 1966.

Davis, William C. The Union that Shaped the Confederacy: Robert Toombs & Alexander H. Stephens. Lawrence, University Press of Kansas, 2001.

Martin Van Buren (1948 Free Soil Candidate; 8th President of the United States)

Niven, John. Martin Van Buren and the Romantic Age of American Politics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.

Cole, Donald B. Martin Van Buren and the American Political System. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1984.

Cole and Niven are considered the two standard biographies of Van Buren.

Wilson, Major L. The Presidency of Martin Van Buren. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1984.

From the American Presidency Series, a series dedicated to providing a consistent, scholarly treatment of each President of the United States. Coverage is limited to the years in office.

Van Buren, Martin. “The Autobiography of Martin Van Buren”, edited by John C. Fitzpatrick, in Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1918. Vol. 2. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1920.

See online bibliography of Martin Van Buren for more information.

Daniel Webster (Statesman; Whig Leader)

Remini, Robert V. Daniel Webster: The Man and His Time. New York: Norton, 1997.

The new standard Webster biography.

Brown, Norman D. Daniel Webster and the Politics of Availability. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1969.

Nathans, Sydney. Daniel Webster and Jacksonian Democracy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973.

Bartlett, Irving H. Daniel Webster. New York: Norton, 1978.

Baxter, Maurice G. One and Inseparable: Daniel Webster and the Union. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984.

Webster, Daniel. Papers of Daniel Webster. 14 vols. Edited by Charles M. Wiltse, et al. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England. 1974-1989.

The authoritative collection of Webster papers.

Thurlow Weed (Whig Party Politician)

Van Deusen, Glyndon G. Thurlow Weed: Wizard of the Lobby. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1947.

Weed, Thurlow. Life of Thurlow Weed, Including His Autobiography and a Memoir. 2 vols. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1884.

John Wentworth (Illinois Congressman)

Fehrenbacher, Don E. Chicago Giant: A Biography of Long John Wentworth. Madison: American History Research Center, 1957.

Wentworth, John. Congressional Reminiscences. Chicago: Fergus Co., 1882.

Recent Publications

Bibliographies

Farrell, John J. Zachary Taylor 1784-1850 and Millard Fillmore 1800-1874: Chronology, Documents, Bibliographical Aids. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana Publications, 1971.