Friday, September 3, 2010

Millard Fillmore

Term: 1850-1853

Party: Whig

Nickname: The American Louis Philippe

Short Bio:
Consider this more of a Compromise of 1850 lesson. Because Fillmore's whole presidency is the Compromise of 1850. After Taylor refused to negotiate about slavery til his death, Fillmore went a different route and quickly said yes to the Compromise of 1850. Here is how the compromise breaks down:

1. California becomes a free state.
2. The territories are open to slavery.
3. The fugitive slave act is instated.
4. No more slave trade in D.C.

This compromise has two things favoring the north and two favoring the south. But one could argue that the south did get the better deal, getting all the territories and forcing slaves back into the south, while only giving up California and the internal slave trade in one city. Well, that's how the anti-slavery northern Whigs felt. They didn't give Fillmore the nomination for the 1854 election, going with Winfield Scott instead. Have you heard of President Scott? No? Exactly. The Whigs basically disbanded after this time.

Many called Fillmore a hero for the compromise, saying that the country was saved from war. And in a way, they were correct. Taylor had brought the country to the brink of war, and the compromise kept the country together for another 11 years. The compromise was just a temporary fix, but one could argue that the north wasn't ready to fight a war at the time, and I would agree. In all truthfulness, we needed the temporary fix of the compromise, even if it did give a little more to the south.

Grade: C+
He accepts the compromise and keeps the country out of war for 11 years. That's good, but he doesn't do anything else. He was incredibly complacent. He does have a funny name though. And there's a comic strip sort of named after him.

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