Who Was Zachary Taylor?

Contributor: Nichole Brooker. Lesson ID: 11117

Life is like a bowl of cherries, except for President Z. Taylor! Learn how a man, who couldn't vote, had no experience, and was rather crude, became the 12th U.S. president — for less than one term!


United States

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Zachary Taylor's death remained quite the mystery for many years. Friends and family believed he was poisoned by his enemies, because arsenic poisoning was not an uncommon form of murder during that era.

There was so much speculation that in 1991, his body was exhumed and underwent the most advanced, extensive forensic available at the time. No evidence of foul play was found, and it was determined he passed away because he ate a huge bowl of cherries and a large pitcher of milk, causing intestinal disruption and death.

  • Why was his family so convinced that he was murdered?

Let's discover who Zachary Taylor was as a man, and the 12th President of the United States!

Zachary Taylor was the 12th president of the United States, but only served for 16 months.

Although he had NO political experience and wasn't even registered to vote, the Whig party asked him to be their candidate.

Consider the idea of doing a job that you have absolutely no experience doing and never even considered as a possible profession.

  • What would you do if you were asked to run for president, even if you had no experience or desire.

Take notes on 5-8 facts about President Taylor as you watch the following video.

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Add to your list to create at least 12 facts.

  • Was Taylor a good president?
  • Did he make contributions to the United States?

Use your list to compare with the list in the Got It? section.

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