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Zachary Taylor (1784)close

Zachary Taylor, the nation's twelfth president was born in Montebello, Virginia. Although Taylor had little interest in politics, he was nationally recognized as a military hero after his valiant defeat of Santa Anna at Buena Vista during the Mexican War. Near the end of President Polk's term in office, Taylor became a prominent figure, admired by northerners who liked his long military record and supported by southerners because he owned 100 slaves. The Whig party nominated him to run against Lewis Cass, the Democratic candidate, in 1848. "Old Rough and Ready" won the election by a very close popular vote. He was inaugurated on in March of 1849 at the age of 64.
On a blistering Fourth of July in 1850, Taylor participated in ceremonies at the yet-unfinished Washington Monument. Returning to the White House after hours in the broiling sun, he became violently ill. Five days later, "Old Rough and Ready" was dead.

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