Ranked #40: No one thought much of Fillmore until he became president due to Zachary Taylors death. After taking office, his entire cabinet resigned. As you can see, not a good start.
Summary: Fillmore was likable. He mixed well with people. He appeared practical and unemotional. He appealed to the mind, but not the heart. Fillmore loved to read. he collected several thousands of books in his lifetime.
Bio: As a young man he was considered handsome and well built. He would be considered boring by todays standards because he was largely deadpan and spoke very slowly. He was considered a health nut for his time since he didn’t drink, smoke or gamble despite that most American men did at least one of those things in the early 19 century, (which would still make him boring by todays standards). This makes sense if you take in account that he was never elected president and failed to get his parties nomination for the next election.
As president, he will go down in history as virtually invisible since hardly any historian bothered to write a book about him. His greatest accomplishment was possibly delaying the Civil War by driving home the Compromise of 1850. This at the same time cost him politically because debates in Congress about the compromise were so intense that fistfights sometimes erupted.
Because of this, it should be no mystery that he was the last president of the Whig party. Fillmore would go on to be influenced by fringe causes. He ended his political career heading the Know-Nothings party. Their platform basically opposed immigration and made no difference in the political discourse.
When he died, he was virtually forgotten by America. Even President Grant only issued a simple statement on his death. There was no mourning by the American people.
Pros: Opened up trade with Japan. Signed the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty.
Cons: Signed the Fugitive Slave Act. Fillmore was prejudice against Irish-Catholic immigrants. Undid a lot of the progress Zachary Taylor had made to avoid a Civil War.
Born: January 7, 1800, Summerhill, New York
Died: March 8, 1874 (aged 74) Buffalo, New York
Term: July 10, 1850 to March 3, 1853 (assumed term)
Political Party: Whig
Education: Six months of grade school; read law in 1822
Marriage: February 5, 1826, to Abigail Powers (1798–1853); February 10, 1858, to Caroline Carmichael McIntosh (1813–1881)
Children: Millard Powers (1828–1889), Mary Abigail (1832–1854)