1848 Whig National Convention

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1848 Whig National Convention
1848 presidential election
WP1848.png WV1848.png
Taylor and Fillmore
Date(s)June 7, 1848
CityPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Presidential nomineeZachary Taylor of Louisiana
Vice presidential nomineeMillard Fillmore of New York
Total delegates280
Votes needed for nomination140
Results (president)Taylor (LA): 171 (61.07%)
Scott (NY): 63 (22.5%)
Clay (KY): 32 (11.43%)
Webster (MA): 14 (5%)
‹ 1844  ·  1852 ›

The 1848 Whig National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held on June 7 in Philadelphia. It nominated the Whig Party's candidates for president and vice president in the 1848 election. The convention selected General Zachary Taylor of Louisiana for president and former Representative Millard Fillmore of New York for vice president.

Taylor and General Winfield Scott had both emerged as contenders for the Whig presidential nomination after serving in the Mexican–American War, while two long-time party leaders, Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky and Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, also commanded support in the party. With Southern delegates united around his candidacy, Taylor took the lead on the first ballot. Clay finished a strong second to Taylor on the first ballot of the convention, but his support faded on subsequent ballots and Taylor took the nomination on the fourth ballot.

After Webster declined the vice presidential nomination, Fillmore and businessman Abbott Lawrence of Massachusetts emerged as the top choices for vice president. Fillmore clinched the nomination on the second ballot. The Whig ticket went on to win the 1848 presidential election, defeating the Democratic ticket of Lewis Cass and William O. Butler.

The Convention[edit]

The convention was quick, convening for only a day on June 7. Taylor had been courted by both the Democrats and the Whigs. Taylor ultimately declared himself a Whig.

Presidential nomination[edit]

By 1847, General Zachary Taylor had emerged as a contender for the Whig nomination in the 1848 presidential election.[1] Despite Taylor's largely unknown political views, many Whigs believed he was the party's strongest possible candidate due to his martial accomplishments in the Mexican–American War.[2] Henry Clay initially told his allies that he would not run in the 1848 presidential election, but he was unwilling to support Taylor, a "mere military man.".[3] Although Daniel Webster and General Winfield Scott each commanded a limited base of support in the party, Taylor and Clay each saw the other as their lone serious rival for the Whig nomination.[4]

Taylor led on the first ballot and grew his lead on subsequent ballots. On the fourth ballot, he secured 171 votes and won the presidential nomination.

Convention Presidential vote
Zachary Taylor cropped.jpg Clay 1848.jpg Winfield Scott by Fredricks, 1862 (cropped).jpg Daniel Webster - circa 1847.jpg John M. Clayton, U.S. Secretary of State (2277592664).jpg John McLean - History of Ohio.jpg
Name Zachary Taylor Henry Clay Winfield Scott Daniel Webster John Middleton Clayton John McLean Not Voting
1st ballot 111 97 43 22 4 2 11
2nd ballot 118 86 49 22 4 0 11
3rd ballot 133 74 54 17 1 0 11
4th ballot 171 (58.97%) 32 (11.03%) 63 (21.72%) 14 (4.83%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 10 (3.45%)
Margin 0 (0.00%) -139 (-47.94%) -108 (-37.25%) -157 (-54.14%) -171 (-58.97%) -171 (-58.97%)

Vice Presidential nomination[edit]

Vice Presidential candidates[edit]




Webster was offered the vice presidential spot on the ticket, but declined. Former New York Representative Millard Fillmore was chosen as the vice presidential candidate on the second ballot.

Convention Vice Presidential vote
Ballots 1 2
Millard Fillmore 115 173
Abbott Lawrence 109 87
Not Voting 16 24
Andrew Stewart 14 0
Thomas M.T. McKennan 13 0
George Evans 6 2
John Sergeant 6 1
John M. Clayton 3 3
Hamilton Fish 2 0
Thomas Ewing, Sr. 1 0
Thomas B. King 1 0
John Young 1 0
Rufus Choate 1 0
Solomon Foot 1 0
George Lunt 1 0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Klotter 2018, pp. 337–338.
  2. ^ Heidler & Heidler 2010, pp. 420-421.
  3. ^ Klotter 2018, pp. 342–345.
  4. ^ Klotter 2018, pp. 345–346.


  • Heidler, David S.; Heidler, Jeanne T. (2010). Henry Clay: The Essential American. Random House. ISBN 978-1-58836-995-6.
  • Holt, Michael F. (1999). The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505544-6.
  • Klotter, James C. (2018). Henry Clay: The Man Who Would Be President. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190498047.

Primary sources[edit]

  • Chester, Edward W A guide to political platforms (1977) online
  • Porter, Kirk H. and Donald Bruce Johnson, eds. National party platforms, 1840-1964 (1965) online 1840-1956

External links[edit]