Mass Comm 103: Prof. Craig: Presidents Before Lincoln 

Presidents Before Lincoln
Zachary Taylor Millard Fillmore Rutherford B. Hayes James A. Garfield
Zachary Taylor Millard Fillmore Franklin Pierce James Buchanan

Notable Facts:

  • Taylor became a national hero in Mexican War; nominated by Whigs in spite of no political experience
  • “Old Rough and Ready” Taylor died of food poisoning after barely more than a year in office
  • Fillmore opposed slavery but refused to outlaw it in the South, effectively splitting the Whig party
  • Fillmore wasn't nominated by the Whigs for reelection
  • Pierce served as a senator and as a general in the Mexican War
  • Pierce's inaction on the slavery issue angered fellow Democrats, and they refused to nominate him for reelection
  • Buchanan campaigned for president three times before winning election
  • Divisiveness of slavery issue drove Buchanan not to seek a second term  

The four presidents before Lincoln (above) and the five after (Johnson, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur) are regularly listed by historians as among the worst presidents in U.S. history.

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