Jan. 20 (Monday)

The 13th U.S. President
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 Millard  Fillmore
Full Name: Millard Fillmore
Born: Jan. 7, 1800 in Locke Township, New York
Died: March 8, 1874 in Buffalo, New York

Millard Fillmore served as Zachary Taylor’s Vice President before becoming the 13th U.S. President (1850-53) and the last member of the Whig Party to hold the office. In fact, his insistence on federal enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 alienated the North and led to the destruction of the Whig Party.

Fillmore is commonly ranked with Franklin Pierce, who succeeded him, among the ten worst U.S. presidents. Like Pierce, Fillmore is seen as doing little to prevent the Civil War. Moreover, he opposed President Abraham Lincoln throughout the war.

Fillmore entered politics as a member of the Anti-Masonic Movement. An early champion of American commercial expansion in the Pacific, he sent a fleet of warships commanded by Commodore Matthew C. Perry to Japan, which was forced to trade with the United States.