12. Zachary Taylor (1849-1850)

Old Rough and Ready – died of cholera

Party: Whig

Vice President – Millard Fillmore


  • “Hero” of the Black Hawk War 1832
  • “Hero” of the Seminole Wars 1835-1842
  • “Hero” of the Mexican War 1846-1848
  • Held office for 16 months before dying of cholera
  • Slave-owner who did not oppose allowing California and New Mexico into the Union as free states
  • California Gold Rush 1849
  • California Republic drafts a constitution and applies directly for statehood, bypassing territorial status; angers southerners because California has declared slavery illegal there
  • Edgar Allan Poe dies 1849
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne publishes The Scarlet Letter in 1850


  • British seizure of San Juan, Nicaragua in 1848 leads to the seizure of Tigre Island and the Gulf of Fonseca in 1849
  • British sought to keep control over the territory that might one day become a canal connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific
  • Clayton-Bulwer Treaty ratified [April 19, 1850]
  • America threatened Great Britain with voluntary annexation of most of Central America to the United States of America
  • Neither England nor America will occupy or colonize or exercise dominion over any part of Central America
  • Critics argued that it conflicted with the Monroe Doctrine by allowing Great Britain to keep its pre-existing Central American colonies (Belize and Mosquito Coast)