Zachary Taylor grew up on a frontier farm in Kentucky and joined the U.S. Army as a young man. He spent more than 30 years in the military, fighting American Indians, the British, and the Mexican Army. In fact, when "Old Rough and Ready" was elected president in 1848, it was not because he had any political experience, but because he was a famous and popular war hero. During his presidency, he helped negotiate the Compromise of 1850, which for a time kept the country from erupting into civil war over the issue of slavery. Unfortunately, he became sick with a stomach ailment after a July 4th celebration, and died in 1850 after only 16 months in office.