Millard Fillmore


About him

Millard Fillmore, 13th president of the United States, built this simple clapboard one and one-half story house in East Aurora, New York in 1826. He and his wife Abigail lived there until 1830. Their only son was born in the home, and here Fillmore began the political career that would lead him to the presidency. The most important achievement of his single term was the Compromise of 1850, which Congress passed during the first year. The compromise papered over but did not settle the fierce debates about the extension of slavery, but it did manage to postpone the outbreak of the Civil War for a decade.

Born and Raised

Millard Fillmore was born in a log cabin in frontier Cayuga County, New York, in 1800. Although he had limited opportunity for an education in his youth, he began to study law when he was about 18 and gained admittance to the bar in Buffalo five years later. Preferring a small town practice to a partnership in the larger city, he soon moved to East Aurora, where he was the only lawyer. Both he and his wife taught there as well. He quickly rose in prominence, elected to the State legislature in 1828 on the Anti-Masonic Party ticket. In East Aurora, he began his 20-year association with Thurlow Weed, boss of the Anti-Masonic and later Whig political machines in New York State. In 1830, Fillmore moved to Buffalo, which would be his home for the rest of his life. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1832 to 1842. In 1844, he ran for governor and suffered defeat for the first time in his life.

How he got here

In 1823 he was admitted to the bar; seven years later he moved his law practice to Buffalo. As an associate of the Whig politician Thurlow Weed, Fillmore held state office and for eight years was a member of the House of Representatives. In 1848, while Comptroller of New York, he was elected Vice President.

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.

Basic info

  • Born: January 7, 1800, Summerhill, NY

  • Died: March 8, 1874, Buffalo, NY

  • Full name: Millard Fillmore

  • Education: New Hope Academy

  • Presidential term: July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853

  • Previous offices: President of the United States (1850–1853), Vice President of the United States (1849–1850)

    • Member of New York State Assembly, 1828-31
    • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1833-35
    • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1837-45
    • Comptroller of New York, 1847
    • Vice President, 1849-1850 (under Taylor)

  • What I think

    Fillmore was a Constitutionalist. Though he personally opposed slavery and detested it, he stated more than once that it was a guarantee of the Constitution and that we were therefore bound by it. Fillmore further changed the administration completely, by accepting the resignations of the entire cabinet.

    Fillmore agreed with and signed the Compromise of 1850, which allowed California to be admitted to the union as a free state, set the boundaries of Texas, made New Mexico a territory in its own right and abolished the slave trade in Dc. It also established federal protection for those seeking fugitive slaves.

    Fillmore further granted Utah territorial status and maintained American neutrality in European revolutions. He also sent Commodore Matthew Perry to open trade with Japan, thereby ending Japan's isolationism, even though it didn't get completed until after the next president took office.

    Fillmore also CREATED the White House Library.

    So all and all i think he was a pretty swell president and was decently affective.

    And did make a change in how America works today.