Best Books About Zachary Taylor
Note: This page is still under construction. All links underlined in blue work as stated. Links in Black link to Amazon page with titles to multiple books on this President
Considering the course his life took, one might wonder how Zachary Taylor ever came to be elected the twelfth president of the United States. According to K. Jack Bauer, Taylor “was and remains an enigma.” He was a southerner who espoused many antisouthern causes, an aristocrat with a strong feeling for the common man, an energetic yet cautious and conservative soldier. Not an intellectual, Taylor showed little curiosity about the world around him. In this biography — the most comprehensive since Holman Hamilton’s two-volume work published more than thirty years ago — Bauer offers a fresh appraisal of Taylor’s life and suggests that Taylor may have been neither so simple nor so nonpolitical as many historians have believed.
John S. D. Eisenhower, the son of another soldier-president, shows how Taylor rose to the presidency, where he confronted the most contentious political issue of his age: slavery. The political storm reached a crescendo in 1849, when California, newly populated after the Gold Rush, applied for statehood with an anti- slavery constitution, an event that upset the delicate balance of slave and free states and pushed both sides to the brink. As the acrimonious debate intensified, Taylor stood his ground in favor of California’s admission―despite being a slaveholder himself―but in July 1850 he unexpectedly took ill, and within a week he was dead. His truncated presidency had exposed the fateful rift that would soon tear the country apart.
In this book Elbert B. Smith disagrees sharply with traditional interpretations of Taylor and Fillmore, the twelfth and thirteenth presidents (from 1848 to 1853). He argues persuasively that the slaveholding Taylor—and not John C. Calhoun—was the realistic defender of southern slaveholding interests, and that Taylor did nothing to impede the Compromise of 1850. While Taylor opposed the combination of the issues into a single compromise bill that could not be passed without amendments to suit the extremists, he would have approved the different parts of the Compromise that were ultimately passed as separate measures.
Zachary Taylor (November 24, 1784 – July 9, 1850) was an American military leader and the twelfth President of the United States. Taylor had a 40-year military career in the U.S. Army, serving in the War of 1812, Black Hawk War, and Second Seminole War before achieving fame while leading U.S. troops to victory at several critical battles of the Mexican-American War. Taylor’s short Presidency was shadowed by the issue then dominating all aspects of American national affairs – that of slavery. However, the immediate issue was the admission of New Mexico and California as states. Taylor confounded his Southern supporters, who had assumed that since the President owned slaves, he would support the pro-slavery position and refuse entry into the union to two states settled by Northerners and likely to be anti-slavery. Taylor recommended that the two territories develop their own constitutions and then request admission based on those constitutions. When Southern states threatened secession he warned them that he would use all his resources as commander-in- chief to preserve the union. Mexicans, and handle them in the same manner that he had deserters. Taylor’s brief term in the White House also featured the still on-going question of balancing power between the Congress and the presidency.
This is a contemporary biography of Zachary Taylor, one of the American heroes of the Mexican-American War and future president.
Trailing Clouds of Glory: Zachary Taylor’s Mexican War Campaign and His Emerging Civil War Leaders by Felice Flanery Lewis
This work is a narrative of Zachary Taylor’s Mexican War campaign, from the formation of his army in 1844 to his last battle at Buena Vista in 1847, with emphasis on the 163 men in his “Army of Occupation” who became Confederate or Union generals in the Civil War. It clarifies what being a Mexican War veteran meant in their cases, how they interacted with one another, how they performed their various duties, and how they reacted under fire. Referring to developments in Washington, D.C., and other theaters of the war, this book provides a comprehensive picture of the early years of the conflict based on army records and the letters and diaries of the participants.