Nickname: Old Rough and Ready

Year in office: 1849–1850

Political party: Whig

Birthday: November 24, 1784

Official presidential portrait of Zachary Taylor

by Joseph H. Bush, ca. 1848

Textile, mid-19th century (Gift of Mrs. J. Insely Blair, Smithsonian Open Access)

Zachary Taylor takes center stage in this textile depicting the Battle of Palo Alto. In this first battle of the Mexican-American War, Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande and met Taylor’s troops at Palo Alto.  The Mexican troops, having suffered heavier losses, retreated to the south. Taylor’s hero status following this war propelled him into the White House.

Zachary Taylor thought himself an unlikely candidate for the presidency.  But, his popularity as a Mexican War hero propelled him to the top of the Whig ticket. The election of 1848, the one in which he was a candidate, was the first election in which Taylor ever voted.


Brownsville, TX


Louisville, KY


Davis, Kenneth C., and Pedro Martin. Don’t Know Much about the Presidents. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2014.

DeGregorio, William A., and Aaron Jaffe. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books, Inc., 2017.

Kane, Joseph Nathan, and Janet Podell. Facts about the Presidents: A Compilation of Biographical and Historical Information. New York: H.W. Wilson, 2009.


Encyclopedia Britannica, britannica.com

Library of Congress, loc.gov

Miller Center, University of Virginia, millercenter.org/the-presidency

The White House, whitehouse.gov

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