Zachary Taylor

On this day in 1850, President Zachary Taylor dies after four days of suffering from what his personal physicians concluded was cholera morbus. He was president for just 16 months.

He received an Army commission in 1808, became captain in 1810, major during the War of 1812. Later, he was a colonel in the Black Hawk War, earning the nickname “Old Rough and Ready.”
Eventually, he became a national hero during the Mexican-American War in 1846.

Taylor supported the Wilmot Proviso that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of…” the territory ceded by Mexico. 

His predecessor James K. Polk’s presidency ended on Sunday, March 4th, 1849. However, Taylor refused to be sworn in on the Sabbath, instead taking the oath of office on Monday, March 5th.

“Let us invoke… let us seek”

Zachary Taylor concluded his inaugural address with these still pertinent remarks:

“I congratulate you, my fellow-citizens, upon the high state of prosperity to which the goodness of Divine Providence has conducted our common country. Let us invoke a continuance of the same protecting care which has led us from small beginnings to the eminence we this day occupy, and let us seek to deserve that continuance by prudence and moderation in our councils, by well-directed attempts to assuage the bitterness which too often marks unavoidable differences of opinion, by the promulgation and practice of just and liberal principles, and by an enlarged patriotism, which shall acknowledge no limits but those of our own widespread Republic.”

Zachary Taylor White House portrait