Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Fotos (March 8, 2013) -- One Hundred Thirty-nine Years Ago Today!

Millard Fillmore --13th President of the United States

It was 139 years ago today that Millard Fillmore, 13th President of the United States, died in Buffalo, New York.  The former President was 74 years, 60 days old when he died on March 8, 1874.  He lived 21 years and four days after the completion of his Presidency.

Almost exactly two months before his death, Fillmore was reported to have said, " . . . My health is perfect, I eat, drink and sleep as well as ever, and take deep but silent interest in public affairs, and if Mrs. F's health can be restored, I should feel that I was in the enjoyment of an earthly paradise." [1]  While he was shaving the morning of February 13, 1874, Fillmore suddenly lost the use of his left hand and the paralysis moved to the left side of his face.  About fourteen days later he experienced another such incident and on March 8th his condition proved fatal.

Millard Fillmore was the Vice President of the United States under President Zachary Taylor. When Taylor died suddenly in office of a coronary thrombosis on July 9, 1850, Millard Fillmore became President.  Taylor served only 1 year, 126 days of his term.  Fillmore completed the term begun by Zachary Taylor, but was then denied the nomination of the Whig party in the 1852 election and did not win election and serve a full term in his own right.  At the time, he was the second President who served only the unexpired term of his predecessor.  He was the last of four Presidents who were Whigs.  

In the 1856 election, Fillmore was nominated as candidate for President by the American ("Know-Nothing") Party.  He ran against John C. Fremont (candidate of both the Republican Party and an antislavery minority group of the American Party) and James Buchanan (candidate of the Democratic Party).  Buchanan won the election with 174 electoral votes and 19 states to Fremont's 114 electoral votes and 11 states and Fillmore's 8 electoral votes and 1 state (Maryland).  BUT, Fillmore's strength in the border states and the deep south (where he won 44% of the total vote compared to Fremont's 1,192 votes in the region -- just shy of a mere 1/10 of 1%), meant that if a combined total of less than 8,000 votes had switched to Fillmore in Kentucky, Tennessee and Louisiana, the election would have been thrown into the House of Representatives -- where no party controlled a majority of the states!  In any event, this defeat marked the end of Millard Fillmore's elective political career. 

Raise a glass this evening in celebration and remembrance of "cousin Millard!"  [See, Discovery and Remembrance Parts 1 and 2 below.]
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Photo of Millard Fillmore (precise date unknown) is in the public domain because any copyright has expired.  Its first publication was prior to January 1, 1923.  The photograph is from a Daguerreotype dated 1855 circa 5 years

[1]  Fillmore to Corcoran, January 7, 1874, among Fillmore Manuscripts in the collection of the Buffalo Historical Society and cited to in Robert J. Rayback, Millard Fillmore -- Biography of a President (Newtown, Connecticut, American Political Biography Press, 2009) at 444.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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