Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Old Rough and Ready"


Zachary Taylor, Mexican War hero and 12th president of the United States, is shown in this highly romantic Whig campaign poster for the 1848 election in which he defeated Democrat Lewis Cass of Michigan.

"Old Rough and Ready," gentleman politician, is shown here surrounded by his Mexican War victories festooned on banners encircling the pillars supporting "justice" and "peace." A sunburst with descending dove is shown above him and under United States flags. Taylor is mounted on his favorite horse "Old Whitey" and at the steed's feet is a fascine bundle, wrapped and labeled "Union."

Born in Virginia in 1784, but coming to Kentucky with his family as an infant, Taylor joined the army as a young man and fought in the War of 1812 and Seminole War.  His great fame was won in Mexico though battles such as Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterrey, and Buena Vista.

The quintessential Whig, Henry Clay, did not receive the party's nomination in 1848 as he had lost the 1844 election to Democrat James K. Polk and was viewed as unable to attain the presidency after other several past failed attempts.

Taylor, like Whig William Henry Harrison in 1840, would not survive his term as president. He died on July 9, 1850. Vice President Millard Fillmore followed after Taylor's death and was then defeated in 1852 by Vermont Democrat Franklin Pierce.

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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