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    Zachary Taylor explains his "determination . . . to hold myself aloof from the discussion of party topics and of political matters"

    Zachary Taylor Letter Signed "Z. Taylor." One page, 8" x 10", Baton Rouge, Louisiana, April 14, 1848. General Taylor, the Whig presidential candidate in the 1848 election, sends this letter to Major John B. Butler declining to give any political opinions. In part:

    "I have repeated my determination, many times recently to those who have written me, to hold myself entirely aloof from the discussion of party topics and of political matters generally. What you stated, when at Washington, is agreeable to my wishes and meets my approval.

    I have uniformly refused to give answers to any questions having, in any respect, a party bearing, and of course I cannot recede from my position. On the veto power of the Executive therefore I cannot be expected to give any opinion, whether its expression might or might not do me injury politically.

    I think you know my general views on this, as on other points of public policy, well enough to render a repetition unnecessary at this moment."

    When President Polk refused to seek a second term in 1848, the Democrats turned to Lewis Cass and the Free Soil Party ran Martin Van Buren. The Whigs, however, nominated Zachary Taylor (1784-1850), who had fought in the War of 1812, defeated the Indians ending the Black Hawk War in 1832, and led American troops to victory during the Mexican War. While an officer, Taylor was known to keep his political opinions to himself. Despite this and his lack of any political experience, "Old Rough and Ready" was clearly the front-runner as the campaign heated up. As a Whig candidate, he adhered to the party's main policies, which included taking away the president's power to veto, except for unconstitutional laws. On Election Day, Taylor carried 47% of the popular vote in this three-way race. Smoothed folds on toned paper. The general's signature is large and bold.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
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