Millard Fillmore-Seriously

By Kauffman, Bill | The American Enterprise, April-May 2004 | Go to article overview

Millard Fillmore-Seriously


Kauffman, Bill, The American Enterprise


Blessed are the peacemakers? Well, perhaps in the Gospel of Matthew, but not in the Gospel of the Schlesingers. Those surveys in which historians are asked to rank the U.S. Presidents--most notably the polls organized by Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. and later Jr.--consistently place wartime Presidents in the "great" or "near-great" categories while consigning men of peace to the squalid precincts of "below average" and "failure." If only Warren G. Harding had invaded Mexico ...

Who was our most peaceable President? The Quaker Herbert Hoover was a quasi-pacifist, but as a western New Yorker I must award the white dove to none other than Buffalo's Millard Fillmore, 13th President of the United States and a man whose name has become little more than a punch line.

Poor Millard. Queen Victoria is said to have called him the most handsome man she had ever seen, and he is often credited with "amiability," but beyond that all is mockery and scorn.

A former Buffalo Congressman of modest means, the Whig Fillmore assumed the Presidency in 1850 after President Zachary Taylor died as a result of gorging on iced milk and cherries at an Independence Day celebration. (No indignity is too great to heap upon Fillmore, even posthumously. In 1991, Taylor's corpse was exhumed to see if Fillmore partisans had poisoned Old Rough and Ready. Of course they hadn't. The gluttonous Taylor had simply made a pig of himself.)

The black spot marring Fillmore's Presidency was his signing of the odious Fugitive Slave Law as part of the ill-fated Compromise of 1850. He acted as he did because he reverenced "the union" as did so many men of goodwill (if poor judgment) on the eve of war. Ever after the abolitionists despised him for this wretched misstep: William Lloyd Garrison called him "as pliant a piece of dough as was ever handled."

Yet Fillmore was no craven pro-Southern doughface. In the 1830s, Congressman Fillmore had been an ally of John Quincy Adams in defending the right of abolitionists to petition the federal government. But he saw no good way to achieve emancipation without rending the country. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Millard Fillmore-Seriously
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.