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General Taylor and His Battles

General Taylor and His Battles

This large broadside poster recounts General Zachary Taylor's exploits in the Mexican War for an American audience. Such materials were important parts of American political life in an era before the rise of mass media. They brought a candidate's message to voters with the support of vivid illustrations, as seen here. Taylor's military victories had made the Louisianan a national hero, and both Democrats and Whigs sought to make him their presidential candidate in 1848. Taylor's political leanings were originally unknown, but after a period of silence he emerged as the Whig nominee and defeated the Democrat Lewis Cass and former president Martin Van Buren, running as a Free Soiler, in the general election. As a departing Congressman Abraham Lincoln hoped for a patronage appointment from the Taylor administration, but none was forthcoming. Like William Henry Harrison, another military hero who had won the presidency as a Whig, Taylor failed to complete his term of office. He died on July 9, 1850, after only sixteen months in the White House.

For more information about politics in the 19th century, please look at Lincoln/Net's Getting the Message Out! National Political Campaign Materials, 1840-1860 Web site.

Permission: Chicago Historical Society.
©Copyright 2002 Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project