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Millard Fillmore by Paul FinkelmanThe oddly named president whose shortsightedness and stubbornness fractured the nation and sowed the seeds of civil war
In the summer of 1850, America was at a terrible crossroads. Congress was in an uproar over slavery, and it was not clear if a compromise could be found. In the midst of the debate, President Zachary Taylor suddenly took ill and died. The presidency, and the crisis, now fell to the little-known vice president from upstate New York.
In this eye-opening biography, the legal scholar and historian Paul Finkelman reveals how Millard Fillmores response to the crisis he inherited set the country on a dangerous path that led to the Civil War. He shows how Fillmore stubbornly catered to the South, alienating his fellow Northerners and creating a fatal rift in the Whig Party, which would soon disappear from American politics—as would Fillmore himself, after failing to regain the White House under the banner of the anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic Know Nothing Party.
Though Fillmore did have an eye toward the future, dispatching Commodore Matthew Perry on the famous voyage that opened Japan to the West, on the central issues of the age—immigration, religious toleration, and most of all slavery—his myopic vision led to the destruction of his presidency, his party, and ultimately, the Union itself.
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House of Representatives About this object This bust is one of hundreds made in to honor George Washington's th birthday. From until , the terms of President and Vice President and the term of the Congress coincided, beginning on March 4 and ending on March 3. This changed when the 20th amendment to the Constitution was adopted in Beginning in , the convening date for Congress became January 3 unless Congress by law appoints a different day , and beginning in the starting date for the presidential term became January Because of this change, the number of Congresses overlapping with a presidential term increased from two to three, although the third only overlaps by a few weeks. John Adams Thomas Jefferson Mar.
Millard Fillmore January 7, — March 8, was the 13th president of the United States — , the last to be a member of the Whig Party while in the White House. A former U. He was instrumental in getting the Compromise of passed, a bargain that led to a brief truce in the battle over slavery. He failed to win the Whig nomination for president in ; he gained the endorsement of the nativist Know Nothing Party four years later, and finished third in that election. Fillmore was born into poverty in the Finger Lakes area of New York state —his parents were tenant farmers during his formative years. Though he had little formal schooling, he rose from poverty through diligent study and became a successful attorney. He became prominent in the Buffalo area as an attorney and politician, was elected to the New York Assembly in , and to the U.
Millard Fillmore and his family welcomed the escape from Washington after Pierce's election; they had never liked the city. Abigail Fillmore had been so unwell during most of the administration that her daughter, Mary, had been pressed into hostess duty for White House functions. The city, however, took a final, terrible swipe at the family. Abigail Fillmore, compelled to sit outside for hours on Pierce's cold, wet inauguration day, caught pneumonia and died less than a month later. Not long afterward, Fillmore's daughter, Mary, only twenty-two-years-old, died of cholera. The former President was devastated by the twin calamities, and he searched for something to take his mind off them.
Aug 14, Millard Fillmore was thrust into the presidency after the death of Learn more about his career as the 13th U.S. president, including how establish the University at Buffalo and served as its first chancellor. Website Name.
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Millard Fillmore was born in New York on January 7, Fillmore began his political career in the anti-Masonic party, but switched to the Whig Party through his association with Henry Clay. He became vice president under President Zachary Taylor, assuming the presidency after Taylor's death in As the 13th U. At age 15, he was apprenticed to a cloth maker by his father to keep the family solvent.