President Zachary Taylor Dies
On Independence Day 1850, President Zachary Taylor stood hatless in the sun for hours listening to long-winded speeches. He returned to the White House and attempted to cool off by eating cherries, cucumbers and drinking iced milk. Severe stomach cramps followed and it is likely that Taylor’s own physicians inadvertently killed him with a whole series of debilitating treatments. President Taylor, born in 1784, died on July 9, 1850. Taylor was a Southerner, a slaveholder and the hero of the Mexican War in 1848 when he was nominated by the Whig Party as a candidate for president of the United States. He was an inoffensive candidate in the anxious years leading up to the Civil War because he had never taken a position on a political issue or even cast a vote in his life. During his 16 months as president, Congress addressed the explosive issue of slavery’s expansion to the west with the Compromise of 1850, but Taylor himself never had the opportunity to act on this issue.
Photo: Library of Congress