Historical Biographies: Who Was Zachary Taylor?

Zachary Taylor was the Whig party's Presidential Nomination in the 1848 campaign. His opponent Martin Van Buren was a former president. Learn about his term in office.

Zachary Taylor was the Whig party's Presidential Nomination in the 1848 campaign. His opponent Martin Van Buren was a former president. The main issue of the Campaign of 1848, was the extension of slavery to the new territories acquired through the Mexican Wars. Van Buren opposed slavery and did not want to see it spread to the new territories. Now, Taylor owned slaves, so the people assumed he wanted slavery to be passed to the new territories. During the campaign, Taylor never stated his views on this issue.

Zachary Taylor was born on November 24, 1784 in Orange County, Va. His Vice-President was Millard Fillmore, and he only served one year in office.

When Taylor took office in 1849, the issue that was pressing, was the extension of slavery to New Territories. Taylor was smart not to say his opinion about this issue during the campaign. His real view was to oppose the extension of slavery to the new territories. With this news all his supporters were devastated. South Carolina went as far to threaten to secede from the Union.



Taylor decided to propose to Congress that the free territories be split in two-thirds. The two large states being New Mexico and California to be free states and the remaining territory to be decided by the people who lived there.

But, President Zachary Taylor did not live to see his wishes come true. He died in 1850 from a stomach disorder, after only serving one year in office.

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