Zachary Taylor (1784–1850) was the twelfth president of the United States. Born in Virginia, Taylor grew up in Kentucky and enlisted in the army in 1808. He served in the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War in 1832, and in the Second Seminole War from 1837 to 1840. Taylor was best known, however, for his service in the Mexican-American War. Following the annexation of Texas, Taylor led American forces into the region between the Nueces and the Rio Grande. In 1846, he succeeded in defeating Santa Anna and capturing the north of Mexico. He returned to the United States as a war hero, and in 1848 he won the presidency as the Whig candidate. Taylor's short presidency was dominated by the question of the expansion of slavery into the territories acquired in the Mexican-American War. Taylor opposed expanding slavery into new states, and he was opposed to compromising on the issue in order to placate southern interests. His death in July 1850 cleared the way for the Compromise of 1850.

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