(1849–1850) and an American military leader
. Initially uninterested in politics, Taylor nonetheless ran as a Whig
in the 1848 presidential election
, defeating Lewis Cass
. Taylor was the last President to hold slaves while in office, and the second and also last Whig to win a presidential election.
Known as "Old Rough and Ready," Taylor had a forty-year military career in the United States Army
, serving in the War of 1812
, the Black Hawk War
, and the Second Seminole War
For more than half a century, during which kingdoms and empires have fallen, this Union has stood unshaken. The patriots who formed it have long since descended to the grave; yet still it remains, the proudest monument to their memory.
I can and shall yield to no call that does not come from the spontaneous action and free will of the nation at large and void of the slightest agency of my own. In no case can I permit myself to be a candidate of any part, or yield myself to any party schemes.
I have always done my duty. I am ready to die. My only regret is for the friends I leave behind me.
I have no private purpose to accomplish, no party objectives to build up, no enemies to punish—nothing to serve but my country.
In the discharge of duties my guide will be the Constitution, which I this day swear to preserve, protect, and defend.
It would be judicious to act with magnanimity towards a prostrate foe.
Tell him to go to hell.
The idea that I should become President seems to me too visionary to require a serious answer. It has never entered my head, nor is it likely to enter the head of any other person.
The power given by the Constitution to the Executive to interpose his veto is a high conservative power; but in my opinion it should never be exercised except in cases of clear violation of the Constitution, or manifest haste and want of due consideration by Congress.
Upon its preservation must depend our own happiness and that of countless generations to come. Whatever dangers may threaten it, I shall stand by it and maintain it in its integrity to the full extent of the obligations imposed and the power conferred upon me by the Constitution.