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Zachary Taylor

Artist:

Bass Otis

Location:

 

Neighborhood:

Downtown

Type:

Painting

Year:

1850

Medium:

Oil on Canvas

Collection:

Funders:

Description:

Zachary Taylor (1784-1850) was the twelfth President of the United States. He served from 1849 until his death in 1850. Prior to his Presidency, he commanded the American army at the beginning of the Mexican War. His victory over General Santa Anna at Buena Vista made him a national hero and boosted his social status. Because Taylor was a Southerner, and the last president to own slaves while in office, it was assumed by his Southern constituents that he would support a national policy of extending slave-holder rights to the western territories. Contrary to expectations, however, he allowed New Mexico and California to write state constitutions that excluded slavery. This policy was not popular with Southerners, who felt betrayed by one of their own. This painting is by Bass Otis (1784-1861), and was commissioned after this controversy by Northern members of the Whig party (of which Taylor was a member) who applauded Taylor's political stance. An oil on canvas, it was purchased for the Boston Common Council’s chamber in City Hall in 1850.

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