T. Michael Parrish, "Taylor, Richard," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-01180.html.
Elected to the Louisiana Senate in 1855, [Richard] Taylor was first a Whig, then a Know-Nothing, and finally a Democrat, veering cautiously toward a strong anti-Republican yet reluctant proslavery position. His nationalistic, Whiggish conservatism, was laced with disdain for abolitionists but also made him distrustful of demagogic fire-eaters' demands for disunion. Both of these volatile expressions of sectional conflict, Taylor believed, masked America's deeper sickness of rampant democracy, which he considered irreversible and ultimately tragic. In public forums he appeared detached and aloof. He preferred to work behind the scenes. As a delegate from Louisiana to the 1860 Democratic National Convention in Charleston, he attempted, but failed, to forge a compromise between moderates and fire-eaters. Thereafter viewing disunion and war as inevitable, Taylor served as a delegate to the Louisiana secession convention in January 1861 and voted with the majority for immediate secession.