Millard Fillmore

Millard Fillmore
Served 1850-1853 (became President upon the death of Taylor)

Millard Fillmore was born January 7, 1800, near Locke Township, Cayuga Country, New York, in a log cabin.

He married Abigail Powers on February 5, 1826. They had two children. She taught him to read, and he pursued his studies and became a lawyer.

Next PageAs Zachary Taylor‘s Whig Party Vice-President, in 1850, Fillmore was the second man to become President after the death of the preceding President. For his elegant tastes and love for reading and books, Fillmore became known as “The American Louis Philippe” (a King of France). His wife encouraged him to make many improvements to the White House and he built the first library there. Marking America’s westward expansion, California was admitted to the Union during Fillmore’s term as President.

The biggest issue of his term in office was slavery, which, as others before him, he tried to solve by making deals. One of these was the Compromise of 1850, which admitted California to the Union as a free state but included a law that all runaway slaves had to be returned to their owners.

Fillmore’s bid for the Whig Party nomination in 1852 fell to General Winfield Scott, but the Whigs were disorganized, and Scott’s opponent Franklin Pierce won the election.

In 1856, Fillmore ran for President as the candidate of the Know Nothing Party, but the only state he carried was Maryland.

His wife died shortly after they left the White House, and Fillmore spent his remaining years practicing law in Buffalo and then went into obscurity after marring a wealthy widow 13 years younger. He died March 8, 1874.

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