Sunday, March 14, 2004

Millard Fillmore

Millard Fillmore This is an excellent brief biography of the forgotten president Millard Fillmore. It is from USA Presidents.

From the site:

Millard Fillmore ( January 7 , 1800 - March 8 , 1874 ) was the the thirteenth ( 1850 - 1853 ) President of the United States being the second President to succeed to the office from the Vice Presidency on the death of the predecessor. He succeeded Zachary Taylor , who died of acute indigestion.

Born in extreme poverty, he worked his way up through the Whig party, eventually being selected as Zachary Taylor 's running mate. It was thought that the obscure, self-made candidate from New York would complement Taylor, a slave-holding military man from the south. Nevertheless, the two men came to a head on the slavery issue in the new western territories taken from Mexico in the Mexican-American War . Taylor wanted the new states to be free states, while Fillmore supported slavery in those states in order to appease the South. In his own words: "God knows that I detest slavery, but it is an existing evil ... and we must endure it and give it such protection as is guaranteed by the Constitution."

Fillmore presided over the Senate during the months of nerve-wracking debates over the Compromise of 1850. He made no public comment on the merits of the compromise proposals, but a few days before President Taylor's death, he intimated to him that if there should be a tie vote on Henry Clay's bill, he would vote in favor of it.

Thus the sudden accession of Fillmore to the Presidency in July 1850 brought an abrupt political shift in the administration. Taylor's Cabinet resigned and President Fillmore at once appointed Daniel Webster to be Secretary of State, thus proclaiming his alliance with the moderate Whigs who favored the Compromise.

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