Millard Fillmore (January 7, 1800 – March 8, 1874) was an American statesman who served as the 13th President of the United States from 1850 to 1853. He was the last Whig president, and the last president not to be affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican parties. Fillmore was the only Whig president who did not die in office or get expelled from the party, and Fillmore appointed the only Whig Supreme Court Justice. As Zachary Taylor's vice president, he assumed the presidency after Taylor's death. Fillmore was a lawyer from western New York state, and an early member of the Whig Party. He served in the state legislature (1829–1831), as a U.S. Representative (1833–35, 1837–43), and as New York State Comptroller (1848–49). He was elected vice president of the United States in 1848 as Taylor's running mate, and served from 1849 until Taylor's death in 1850, at the height of the "Crisis of 1850" over slavery.
As an anti-slavery moderate, he opposed abolitionist demands to exclude slavery from all the territory gained in the Mexican War. Instead he supported the Compromise of 1850, which briefly ended the crisis. In foreign policy, Fillmore supported U.S. Navy expeditions to open trade in Japan, opposed French designs on Hawaii, and was embarrassed by Narciso López's filibuster expeditions to Cuba. He sought election to a full term in 1852, but was passed over for the nomination by the Whigs. When the Whig Party broke up in 1854–56, Fillmore refused to join the Republican Party. Unlike many other conservative Whigs, Fillmore did not join the American Party, the political arm of the anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic "Know-Nothing" movement. While out of the country, he was nevertheless nominated by the American Party as their candidate for President in 1856. He finished third in the election, surpassed by the Republican Party candidate. During the American Civil War, Fillmore denounced secession and agreed that the Union must be maintained by force if necessary, but was very critical of the war policies of President Abraham Lincoln. After the war, he supported the Reconstruction policies of President Andrew Johnson. Although some have praised Fillmore's restrained foreign policy, he is criticized for having further aggravated tensions between abolitionists and slaveholders. He is placed near the bottom 10 of historical rankings of Presidents of the United States by various scholarly surveys.
Fillmore founded the University at Buffalo and was the university's first chancellor. He also helped found the Buffalo Historical Society and the Buffalo General Hospital.
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