Introduction - Zachary TaylorZachary Taylor, who was the 12th President of the United States, went from one of the most famous Americans when he took office, to someone that historians often refer to as one of the worst U.S. Presidents in history. Taylor's brave actions as general during the Mexican-American War of 1846 are what made him a national war hero. Where he runs into trouble with his popularity as President is in his dealings with the slavery issue and the increasingly tense feelings between the North and South. The reasons why many people feel Zachary Taylor deserves to be on the worst President List are further highlighted below. The interesting facts and information about Taylor is presented in a kid-friendly format. Facts are listed as either quick facts, interesting facts, or facts about why he is included on the worst presidents list.
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Zachary Taylor Quick Facts
- Zachary Taylor was born on November 24, 1784 near Barboursville, Virginia into a well-known and prosperous family of planters.
- The only formal education that Zachary Taylor received was some elementary level tutoring that his father had arranged.
- He was a respected general in the United States Army and a captain in the War of 1812.
- He married Margaret Mackall Smith in 1810; they went on to have six children together.
- As the country's 12th president, Zachary Taylor began his short term in office in March of 1849.
- Taylor died suddenly of acute gastroenteritis on July 9, 1850. He is buried in Louisville, Kentucky.
- Millard Fillmore, another president who often makes worst U.S. Presidents list, succeeded Zachary Taylor as President.
Zachary Taylor Interesting Facts
- Zachary Taylor was nicknamed "Old Rough and Ready" because of his long and distinguished career in the U.S. military.
- Although much of the conflict during his presidency revolved around his belief that slavery should not spread into new U.S. territories, Zachary Taylor himself was a slave owner who owned a 2,000 acre plantation.
- He died suddenly, only sixteen months after taking office. Although the claim was disproved, the conspiracy theory behind his death suggests that he was poisoned. He was, at that point, the second president to die while in office.
Zachary Taylor - Why Included on Worst U.S. Presidents List
- Before becoming president of the United States, Zachary Taylor had never been in politics; being a political novice he did not have the necessary experience to run the country.
- Throughout his presidency he was viewed as uneducated but did little to change public opinion by dressing more like a disheveled farmer than a president.
- Zachary Taylor did not care to use congress as the policy-making body that it was supposed to be. This did not sit well with members of congress, especially when he urged New Mexico and California settlers to draft their own state constitutions which would have not allowed for slavery. Many people felt he infringed on the role of Congress.
- During his short presidency, Taylor was inflexible in his view that the territory acquired from Mexico during the Mexican-American War should not allow slavery. Southern states were so angered by this that they even threatened to secede from the union.
- Instead of exhibiting flexibility and compromise when it came to slavery in the United States' newly acquired territory, Zachary Taylor instead threatened military action against the south. Before he could follow through, Taylor became gravely ill and died.