Two Mexican War Hero - Generals who ran for President

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by johnmilton, Dec 4, 2021.

  1. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Zachary Taylor was the first hero of the Mexican War. I have read that President James K. Polk replaced him with Winfield Scott because Taylor was winning too many battles and posed a political threat to Polk.

    Taylor was like Dwight Eisenhower. No one knew his political affiliations. The Whigs wanted to nominate him for President in 1848. Some Democrats wanted to nominate Eisenhower in 1948. Taylor admitted that he felt a little like a Whig, but was not a "strong Whig." That was good enough. He got the party's endorsement. Eisenhower declined the Democratic offer in 1948 and accepted the Republican nomination in 1952.

    The past week I was able to buy this 1848 Zachary Taylor medalet. I had been looking for one of these large (41 mm) Taylor pieces for a while. The hole is a good thing because it shows that this piece was made for the 1848 campaign. Restrikes were made of this piece, probably in the 1860s. They have Proofed surfaces and no hole.

    ZT 1848-4 O a.jpg ZT 1848-4 R a.jpg

    You will note that a "Captain Bragg" is mentioned in the middle of the reverse. That is Confederate Civil War general, Braxton Bragg. Bragg was not a very good general, but he was a favorite of Jefferson Davis, which kept him in command.

    President Polk replaced Zachary Taylor with Winfield Scott who won the Whig presidential nomination in 1852. By then the Whig Party was being torn apart over the slavery issue. Scott lost to Franklin Pierce, who was a clearly inferior candidate.

    Here is an original 1852 Winfield Scott campaign medalet. It is also 41 mm in diameter.

    WS 1852 - 1 O org.jpg WS 1852 - 1 R org.jpg

    These tokens were made out of white metal and were never intended to last for 170 years. They are prone to "tin pest" which is a form of corrosion that effects these pieces. I have found that if you store the piece properly, "tin pest" can be arrested.

    Here is a restrike of the same Scott medal that was made in the 1860s. This one is on copper, and it is much more attractive, but it is not campaign piece. It is a nicely made copy of the campaign piece. Both of these pieces are collectable, and some collectors prefer the more attractive version.

    WS 1852 1 O.jpg
    WS 1852 1 R.jpg
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  3. Bradley Trotter

    Bradley Trotter Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks for the fascinating write-up, @johnmilton; I certainly find your historical write-ups to be a highlight of this site.

    Regardless, while looking into the circumstances and claims surrounding his exhumation in the early 90s, I found a rather interesting image of President Taylor's skull in the collection of Florida Gulf Coast University.
    Randy Abercrombie likes this.
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