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President Millard Fillmore

Updated on January 6, 2017

Millard Fillmore (1800-1874) was the 13th president of the United States.

Born in Locke, New York. He married twice: Abigail Powers in 1826 and Caroline Mcintosh in 1858. A lawyer in New York state, he was an early leader in the Anti-Masonic party. After serving in the state legislature, he was elected to the US House of Representatives (1832). In 1835, he changed his affiliation to the new Whig party and remained in the House until 1843, rising to become Ways and Means Committee chairman.

In 1848, he became comptroller of New York and later that year, he was a successful vice-presidential candidate, running with Zachary Taylor. As vice-president he presided over the Senate during the bitter slavery debates of 1850. When Taylor died on July 9, 1850, Fillmore became president. As president he attempted to avoid a national crisis by mediating between the pro-slavery, antislavery forces.

He encouraged and signed the Compromise of 1850, which included the Fugitive Slave Law. His enforcement of that law embittered the Whig abolitionists and helped bring into being the new Republican party. He (and the Whig party itself) were victims of the great slavery dispute; he was not nominated in 1852.


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