Millard Fillmore -

Millard Fillmore

Born on January 7, 1800 in the Finger Lakes region of New York —Millard Fillmore lived amongst one of the biggest settler era in history. Unfortunately, in Fillmore's younger years he endured great levels of poverty and was not able to get a formal education. However, Fillmore was able to avoid enlisting in the War of 1812 and instead got an apprenticeship with a cloth maker to learn a useful trade. Although unable to go to school, Fillmore loved learning and would constantly take out books from to library to expand his educational endeavors. Once Fillmore realized he wanted more for himself he convinced Judge Walter Wood to give him a trial run as a clerk as he earned his money teaching on the side. After studying law and learning to the best of his ability, he was admitted to the New York Bar in 1823. Fillmore spent most of his law career practicing at a small firm in East Aurora located in Erie County near Buffalo. After practicing law for quite some time, and having family involved in politics, Fillmore decided it was time to give it a try.

Fillmore started his venture into politics by endorsing John Quincy Adams for re-election and reigned successful. Following this, Fillmore decided to run for New York State Assembly and served for three consecutive one-year terms. After serving on the assembly he took another gap to practice law and was quite successful, but ended up returning to Buffalo to run for a seat in the House of Representatives—where he tirelessly tried to expand Buffalo Harbor as he privately lobbied Albany for the state-owned Erie Canal. Throughout Fillmore's terms as congressman, he remained quite active in the Whig National Convention debates (as this was a big issue in his time). One major accomplishment of Fillmore, was the major tariff reform he sought after, which made him extremely popular during re-election time. However, Fillmore announced he would not seek re-election and instead sought to become a national figure as he led the committee of notable that welcomed John Quincy Adams into Buffalo and founded the University of Buffalo, thus becoming its first chancellor.

In 1849, Fillmore decided to run with Zachary Taylor and became his vice president on March 5, 1849. Unfortunately, President Taylor died shortly after being sworn in as president and Fillmore was next in succession. Within Fillmore's time as president he was able to significantly reduce the tension between the North and South. He did this by letting New Mexico and Utah decide the issue of slavery on their own and banning not slavery, but overall slave trade in Washington. Along with this he also founded the white house library, as he was obsessed with learning and books from a very young age.

After serving as president for part of one term, Fillmore decided to go back to practicing law and once he retired from that he traveled abroad quite a lot (allegedly to avoid political news and issues). Unfortunately, Fillmore passed away on March 8, 1874 from a stroke, at the age of 74. Although Fillmore only spent a portion of term in office, he laid the groundwork for others to form new rules and regulations that carried the U.S. to it’s present day success.  

 

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