Zachary Taylor never voted until his own presidential election.

  • President Zachary Taylor
President Zachary Taylor
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In the 1848 U.S. presidential election, Major General Zachary Taylor — a political newcomer representing the Whig Party — faced off against Democratic Senator Lewis Cass. Taylor was so new to the world of politics that he had never even voted before his own presidential election. A lifelong military man and hero of the Mexican-American War, he was unexpectedly drafted as the Whig Party candidate in 1848 — a move that came as a surprise even to Taylor himself. He wasn’t present at the Whig National Convention, and didn’t find out about his nomination until weeks later, as he initially refused to pay postage on a letter sent his way alerting him of the news. After accepting the nomination, Taylor refused to actively campaign in the race, so supporters hit the trail on his behalf instead. 

On Election Day, Taylor defeated Cass as well as former President and third-party candidate Martin Van Buren, earning the votes of 1,360,099 Americans en route to the presidency. Taylor’s time in office was brief, however; he served only 16 months before his untimely death in July 1850. His presidency was largely unmemorable, though he was a vocal supporter of California statehood, which became a reality two months after his death. Despite this minimal impact on the world of politics, Taylor holds the distinction of being the last person elected to the presidency who was unaffiliated with either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. His successor, Millard Fillmore, was also a member of the Whig Party, but Fillmore never actually won a presidential election.

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