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Mr. President

Millard Fillmore
Thirteenth President, 1850–1853

“In the North
I was charged with being a pro-slavery man, seeking to extend slavery over free territory, and in the South I was accused of being an Abolitionist. But I am neither.”

No-Win Situation:
With the country edging ever closer to civil war, New Yorker Millard Fillmore tried to find compromises between free and slaveholding states. The Compromise of 1850 helped calm the nation at first, but soon Southerners grew angry at their concessions. And Notherners grew increasingly outraged at the Fugitive Slave Act, which promised slaveowners federal support in capturing runaway slaves. The act gave rise to the underground railroad, a system for helping runaway slaves escape from the South. Also during this time, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was published, stirring the conscience of many Americans concerning the institution of slavery.

Portrait by an unidentified artist , circa 1843 . NPG.78.50 , Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery .

Fast Facts
Party: Whig
Date of Birth: Tuesday, January 7, 1800
Date of Death: Sunday, March 8, 1874
Vice President: none
First Lady: Abigail Powers Fillmore

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