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"I regret nothing, but I am sorry that I am about to leave my friends."Zachary Taylor (1784-1850) was the twelfth President of the United States (serving from 1849 to 1850) and the third from the Whig Party. He succeeded James K. Polk and preceded Millard Fillmore. Known as "Old Rough And Ready" for his service as a General during the Mexican-American War. According to legend, he was elected without ever having voted before. His only really notable actions in office were convincing California and New Mexico to bypass the territorial stage and apply for statehood (though only California did) and signing the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, where America and the United Kingdom promised not to build or claim a canal across Nicaragua. Taylor died soon after taking office- to quote Badass of the Week: "One of the toughest, most badass generals and commanders in American history was replaced by some dude named Millard." He was the second president to die in office—the cause of death was at the time said to be a bowl of cherries that were cooled with contaminated ice, but even at the time of his death people were suspicious that he had been poisoned with arsenic. In 1991 they dug him up and tested his hair for arsenic. The test came out normal, but at least one medical doctor has pointed out that the test was improperly administered - instead of testing just the very tip of the hair root, they mashed up the entire hair and tested it. This would uncover chronic poisoning but would at best be useless in discovering acute poisoning. (At worst it would actually mask any evidence.) He was also the second member of the Whig party to be elected president (John Tyler succeeded, and was expelled from the party while in office). The first was William Henry Harrison, who lasted all of 31 days. They were the first two presidents to die while in office. For some reason, the Whig party isn't around anymore. For what it's worth, Taylor is widely considered to have been the best Whig president by a country mile, simply because he was around long enough to get a few positive things done, while not lasting long enough to become a total screw-up. His rough and dirty exterior hid his political savvy. He was also well connected out the wazoo. Former president James Madison and General Robert E. Lee were his cousins and Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis was his son-in-law. It was in his administration that slavery consumed American politics. He was an ardent Unionist (paraphrased: "I'll hang every secessionist there is, starting with that son-in-law of mine.") and he was willing to use force to prevent secession. Interestingly, he was still a slaveowner; the last sitting president to own slaves, actually (Andrew Johnson had also been a slaveowner, but he freed his slaves in 1863, two years before he became President). Taylor deferred his inauguration for a day because declined to take the oath of office on Sunday. This later gave rise to the notion that David Rice Atchison (president pro tempore of the outgoing Senate, that being the office next in line after the President and Vice President by the succession law of the time) was "President for a day" (specifically, March 4, 1849). A short list of reasons why this isn't so:
—Zachary Taylor's Famous Last Words
Tropes that Taylor embodied: