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    Zachary Taylor: Only Known Example Campaign Banner for the 1848 Whig Candidate and 12th President.
    Campaign banners in the style of flags achieved great popularity in the 1840 and 1844 campaigns. But oddly they seem to have disappeared from the scene during the following two presidential elections, only to enjoy a resurgence of popularity in 1856 which continued through the remaining presidential campaigns of the 19th century. Collins lists no flag design banners for Zachary Taylor or his Democratic opponent, Lewis Cass, and in some four decades in the hobby we have never seen another example in any private or institutional collection. Accordingly, this large, double-sided Zachary Taylor example must be considered one of the most significant political flags ever to appear on the auction market.

    On the front is a tribute to "Brave Old Zach," while the reverse side carries the slogan "He protected the children." This is almost certainly a reference to the first event which brought Taylor to national attention. As a young officer in his first battle in the War of 1812, he commanded Fort Harrison on the Wabash River in Indian Territory, which came under heavy attack by a force of Indians who were siding with the British. The attackers first fired the block house, and the fire quickly spread to the barracks. Panic ensued, and Taylor would later write "Most of the men immediately gave themselves up for lost, and I had the greatest difficulty in getting my orders executed - from the raging of the fire - the yelling and howling of several hundred Indians - and cries of nine women and children." But Taylor managed to rally his troops and repel the attack, with no harm coming to the women and children. While the feat did not quite rise to the level of Harrison's celebrated defeat of Tecumseh at Tippecanoe, it nonetheless set young Taylor firmly on the path to national prominence.

    This unique flag has survived well, in part because it was printed on a more durable finely woven cotton fabric, which during the 1844 campaign had become preferred to the fragile silk previously used for political flags. The colors are quite strong. A little extremely minor, very light surface soiling is noted for accuracy, and there is some staining to the right of "Brave Old Zach." The slogans are printed quite heavily and have bled through somewhat onto the opposite sides. Measurements: 25.75" x 21.5". Nicely custom-framed with glass on both sides for display.

    For those intrepid collectors who seek to obtain a representative flag banner for each candidate of the 1840-1900 era, this may well be the your last chance to obtain a Zachary Taylor campaign flag!

    Note: While our earlier suggestion that the slogans on this flag reference an incident during the War of 1812 seems plausible enough, additional information provided by historian Thomas Horrocks may be more on point in the context of the 1848 campaign.

    "On June 7th the Whig national convention adopted its platform, and the following language is included in point 7., lauding Taylor's triumphs in the Mexican War:


    6."Resolved, That as Whigs and Americans, we are proud to acknowledge our gratitude for the great military services which, beginning at Palo Alto, and ending at Buena Vista, first awakened the American people to a just estimate of him who is now our Whig Candidate. In the discharge of a painful duty-for his march into the enemy's country was a reluctant one; in the command of regulars at one time and volunteers at another, and of both combined; in the decisive though punctual discipline of his camp, where all respected and beloved him; in the negotiations of terms for a dejected and desperate enemy; in the exigency of actual conflict, when the balance was perilously doubtful-we have found him the same-brave, distinguished and considerate, no heartless spectator of bloodshed, no trifler with human life or human happiness, and we do not know which to admire most, his heroism in withstanding the assaults of the enemy in the most hopeless fields of Buena Vista-mourning in generous sorrow over the graves of Ringgold, of Clay, or of Hardin-or in giving in the heat of battle, terms of merciful capitulation to a vanquished foe at Monterey, and not being ashamed to avow that he did it to spare women and children, helpless infancy, and more helpless age, against whom no American soldier ever wars. Such a military man, whose triumphs are neither remote nor doubtful, whose virtues these trials have tested, we are proud to make our Candidate."

    The flag offered here may well have been produced hastily for display at that convention.

    To view the Optical Microscopy Report on this flag, please click here .

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    4th-5th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,412

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on May 4, 2019 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
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