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Taylor, Zachary Taylor, President Taylor(noun)
12th President of the United States; died in office (1784-1850)
Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States and an American military leader. His 40-year military career ended with far-reaching victories in the Mexican–American War. His status as a national hero won him election to the White House despite his vague political beliefs. His top priority as president was preserving the Union, but he died 16 months into his term, before making any progress on the status of slavery, which had been inflaming tensions in Congress. Taylor was born to a prominent family of planters who migrated westward from Virginia to Kentucky in his youth. He was commissioned as a U.S. Army officer in 1808 and made a name for himself as a captain in the War of 1812. He climbed the ranks establishing military forts along the Mississippi River and entered the Black Hawk War as a colonel in 1832. His success in the Second Seminole War attracted national attention and earned him the nickname "Old Rough and Ready". In 1845, as the annexation of Texas was underway, President James K. Polk dispatched Taylor to the Rio Grande area in anticipation of a potential battle with Mexico over the disputed Texas-Mexico border. The Mexican–American War broke out in May 1846, and Taylor led American troops to victory in a series of battles culminating in the Battle of Palo Alto and the Battle of Monterrey. He became a national hero, and political clubs sprung up to draw him into the upcoming 1848 presidential election.
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