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Biography

President Millard Fillmore

President Millard Fillmore
Millard Fillmore
by Matthew Brady
Millard Fillmore was the 13th President of the United States.

Served as President: 1850-1853
Vice President: none
Party: Whig
Age at inauguration: 50

Born: January 7, 1800 in Cayuga County, New York
Died: March 8, 1874 in Buffalo, NY

Married: Abigail Powers Fillmore
Children: Millard, Mary
Nickname: Last of the Whigs

Biography:

What is Millard Fillmore most known for?

Milliard Fillmore is most known for the Compromise of 1850 which tried to keep peace between the North and the South.

Portrait of Millard Fillmore standing
Millard Fillmore by G.P.A. Healy

Growing Up

Milliard Fillmore's life story is a classic American "rags to riches" tale. He was born into a poor family and raised in a log cabin in New York. He was the oldest son of nine children. Milliard had little formal education and was never able to attend college. However, he overcame his background and rose to the highest office in the country when he became president of the United States.

Milliard's first job was as an apprentice for a cloth maker, but he didn't like the work. Even though he wasn't able to get a formal education, he taught himself how to read and write. He also worked on improving his vocabulary. Eventually, he was able to get a job clerking for a judge. He took this opportunity to learn the law and by the age of 23 he had passed the bar exam and had opened his own law firm.

Before He Became President

Fillmore ran a very successful and prestigious law firm in New York. He first entered politics in 1828 when he won a seat on the New York State Assembly. In 1833 he ran for U.S. Congress. He served for four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Vice President

Fillmore was nominated by the Whig Party to run as vice president with General Zachary Taylor in 1848. They won the election and Fillmore served as vice president up until Taylor's death in 1850, when he became president.

Millard Fillmore's Presidency

President Taylor and Milliard Fillmore had very different ideas about slavery and how the North vs. South issues should be handled. Taylor was adamant that the Union remain united. He even threatened the South with war. Fillmore, however, wanted peace above all else. He wanted to find a compromise.

The Compromise of 1850

In 1850, Fillmore signed a number of bills into law that became known as the Compromise of 1850. Some of the laws made the South happy while other laws made people in the North happy. These laws managed to make peace for a while, but it didn't last. Here are the five main bills:
Post Presidency

Fillmore was not elected to a second term as president. He wasn't even nominated by the Whig Party. Soon the Whig Party fell apart, earning Fillmore the nickname "Last of the Whigs". In 1856, he ran again for president and was nominated by the Know-Nothing Party. He came in a distant third place.

How did he die?

He died at home in 1874 from the effects of a stroke.

Postage Stamp featuring Millard Fillmore
Millard Fillmore Stamp
Source: US Post Office
Fun Facts About Millard Fillmore Activities

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Biographies for Kids >> US Presidents for Kids

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