American general (1784-1850). Joined the army as a first lieutenant in 1808. Stayed in the army but also lived the life of a planter in the slaveholding south. Served in the War of 1812, Black Hawk War, and Seminole War. In 1846, commanded the army which engaged the Mexicans at the Rio Grande at the start of the Mexican War. Won the battles of Monterrey and Buena Vista. Whig candidate for President in 1848 -- the last Whig to be elected. Twelfth President of the United States. Died in office, of the effects of illness and perhaps food poisoning, July 9, 1850.