Zachary Taylor, Election of 1848 (American National Biography)

Elbert B. Smith, "Taylor, Zachary," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
In December 1847 a group of Whig congressmen, including both Abraham Lincoln and Alexander H. Stephens, organized a "Taylor for President Club" and ignited a national movement.

Besieged with questions, Taylor wrote revealing letters. He disliked political parties, he would spend no money, and he would become president only as a result of a "spontaneous move of the people." Slavery, he wrote, had been abolished in Mexico and could not be revived in the newly acquired territories. He owned many slaves, but he would respect the feelings and legal rights of the nonslaveholding states. The "intemperate zeal" of northern fanatics and southern politicians was making reasonable discussions impossible. The unnecessary and dangerous Wilmot Proviso against slavery in the new territories would shake the country. He still hoped, however, that compromises could be reached. Congress was responsible for legislation, and a president should veto laws only if they were clearly unconstitutional.
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