Millard Fillmore became our Nation’s 13th President after the death of Zachary Taylor. He finished out Taylor’s term, but was not re-elected. Although Fillmore was considered a “2nd hand President” by so many, he played a significant role in American history, as he signed into law a series of five bills known as the Compromise of 1850. Fillmore opposed slavery, but appeased the southerners to avoid a sectional crisis which held off the Civil War for a decade. The abolitionists were repulsed by his actions.
Fillmore had no formal education, he self-taught his way to pass the bar and opened a law office in East Aurora. After marrying Abigail Powers and having two children, they moved to Buffalo. Fillmore was tall, blonde, and handsome with a pleasing personality which led him to become State Legislator. He served three terms before being elected into Congress. Fillmore promoted higher tariff rates, keeping his belief that American businesses needed protection from foreign competition. He then became the state comptroller. Less than a year later, he ran for vice-president even though his heart wasn’t completely in it. His wife passed shortly after losing re-election and he moved back to Buffalo. He served as the first chancellor of UB and was a founder of the Buffalo Historical Society. Fillmore remarried to Caroline McIntosh which led him to philanthropy and the creation of Buffalo GeneralHospital. On March 8, 1874 he suffered from a stroke and was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery.