Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore - Bibliography

Elbert B. Smith, The Presidencies of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore (Lawrence, Kans., 1988), is a judicious account devoted specifically to these two presidencies; it is generally complimentary to both. Avery Craven, The Coming of the Civil War (New York, 1942), contains good chapters on the politics and personalities of the Taylor-Fillmore years. Allan Nevins, Ordeal of the Union , vol. 1 (New York, 1947), covering the years 1847–1852, includes excellent chapters on Taylor, Fillmore, and the Compromise of 1850, as well as on the external challenges in Europe and the Caribbean. Holman Hamilton, Zachary Taylor, vol. 2 (Indianapolis, Ind., 1951), a long and generally sympathetic account of Taylor's presidency, is the standard work on the subject. Brainerd Dyer, Zachary Taylor (Baton Rouge, La., 1946), less detailed than Hamilton's study, notes that Taylor was almost lost in the events of his administration. William Elliot Griffin, Millard Fillmore: Constructive Statesman, Defender of the Constitution, President of the United States (Ithaca, N.Y., 1915), offers perceptive commentary on most aspects of Fillmore's life. The major study of Fillmore's life remains Robert J. Rayback, Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President (Buffalo, N.Y., 1959).

There are excellent biographies of the key congressional actors in the events of the Taylor-Fillmore presidencies. Richard N. Current, Daniel Webster and the Rise of National Conservatism (Boston, 1955), includes an excellent treatment of the debate on the Compromise of 1850. Claude M. Fuess, Daniel Webster , 2 vols. (Boston, 1930), long the standard biography, contains excellent accounts of Webster's role in the Compromise of 1850 and as secretary of state. Carl Schurz, Henry Clay , 2 vols. (Boston, 1899), although old, is still useful for its detailed account of Clay's role in the Compromise; it assigns no role to Douglas. More recent is Glyndon G. Van Deusen, The Life of Henry Clay (Boston, 1937). Charles M. Wiltse treats Calhoun's role in the Compromise generously in John C. Calhoun , vol. 3 (Indianapolis, Ind., 1951). Robert W. Johannsen, Stephen A. Douglas (New York, 1973), is the standard work on Douglas. George Fort Milton, The Eve of Conflict: Stephen A. Douglas and the Needless War (Boston, 1934), an excellent treatment of the events of 1850, focuses on Douglas's contribution.

Holman Hamilton, Prologue to Conflict: The Crisis and Compromise of 1850 (Lexington, Ky., 1964), remains the standard account of the Great Debate of 1850. Edwin C. Rozwenc, ed., The Compromise of 1850 (Boston, 1957), includes excerpts from the major speeches in the Great Debate, three interpretive studies of the Compromise, and several accounts of the year's events. Richard H. Shryock, Georgia and the Union in 1850 (Philadelphia, 1926), focuses on the state's reaction to the Compromise, which was instrumental in determining the general acceptance of the settlement in the South. W. Darrell Over-dyke, The Know-Nothing Party in the South (Gloucester, Mass., 1968), contains a chapter on Fillmore's 1856 campaign as the Know-Nothing candidate.

Recent works include Robert J. Scarry, Millard Fillmore (Jefferson, N.C., 2001).