I Heart Indies

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Presidential Losers #16: Winfield Scott

Winfield Scott 1
The Whigs and the Democrats had virtually no difference in platform, but the Whigs had the snappier dresser in Winfield “Old Fuss and Feathers” Scott, a hero of the Mexican American War, a man of Spartan temperament known for rising at the crack of 6 PM for “a hasty bowl of soup.”  

During a forty-seven year career in the military, Winfield had his high points and low points.  A low point was being captured by the British in the War of 1812.  Another low point was supervising the Indian Removal from Georgia – that’s was they called it, the Indian Removal.  It wasn’t until later someone thought to call it the Trail of Tears, which is a catchier name.  

Scott’s conscience troubled him about the removal, but he had to follow the orders he’d been given; he’d only been in the army thirty years by that point, and was still seventeen years away from retirement.  

The high point was capturing Mexico City, but like every sweet moment, this was soured by the tang of defeat.  The same year as the victorious Mexican Campaign, Scott was defeated in chess by an eight-year-old chess prodigy.  Such was Scott’s life: some laughter, some tears.  

Scott did pretty much the same thing for the Whig Party he’d done for the Mexicans: after 1852, the party split, some joining the Democrats, and some forming the Republican party.


Franklin Pierce: 254 
Winfield Scott: 42

1. If I may be permitted to footnote a picture, I'd like to comment on the unaccountable penchant for military leaders to pose for portraits with one hand inside their coats.  The most plausible explanation I can come up with is that it saved the artist the trouble of painting fingers. 

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