Policies of Millard Fillmore

Before Millard Fillmore became the thirteenth president of the United States of America, his first political career was in the Anti-Masonic Party and was associated with Henry Clay. Elected as the vice president of Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore assumed the position after the president’s unexpected death on July 9, 1850.

As Zachary Taylor’s entire cabinet resigned, he leaned with Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas for the bills, which became the Compromise of 1850. As he succeeded in the position amidst the crisis, he tried was able to delay the Civil War by appeasing the southerners and northerners.

Governor Peter H. Bell sent a hostile letter indicating Texas’s attempt to assert its authority in the New Mexico territory. The message was first sent to Zachary Taylor but was diverted to Millard Fillmore as he became the president. He resolved it by sending federal troops reinforcement to keep the peace.

On August 6, 1850, Millard Fillmore disclosed Governor Bell’s letter with his reply to the Congress. Enclosed was a warning regarding armed Texans, considered as an intruder. As president, he urged Congress to pass the Compromise. He pressured the Northern Whigs, including the New Yorkers, to abstain than oppose the bill.

Statehood of California

California was admitted to the Union and became the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The claimed to be a Frees State after it faced a rapid growth in population, congressional debates flared up regarding the status of slavery of the new territories.

The Congress permitted California to reach full statehood without passing through the formal territorial stage.

Fugitive Slave Act

This controversial act was passed on September 18, 1850, by the Congress and was signed by Millard Fillmore. It indicates that the federal law authorized the local government to seize the runaway slaves and be returned to their owners within the United States territory. There are also penalties for anyone who aided them.

Because of this law’s passage, many free blacks were illegally captured and sold to become slaves. Many slaves fled to Canada to escape the United States jurisdiction. Vermont and Wisconsin created new measures to bypass and invalidate the law.

Resistance resulted in occasional riots and revolts. Antislavery abolitionists exerted an extra effort to assist the runaways. Also, a mob of antislavery activists charged to a Boston courthouse and freed Shadrach Minkins in 1851. Similar liberation was made in New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Many slaveholders demanded more vigorous enforcement of the law. Law enforcers claimed that they were paranoid or overreacting. The abolitionists’ efforts paid off due to their widespread opposition; northern states only had 330 slaves returned to their owners by 1860.

ERIE Railroad

The railroad infrastructure finished in 1851 in New York. President Millard Fillmore and his cabinet prompted the first train ride from New York City to Lake Erie. The route fortified the vital influence of the Southern Tier of New York State.

National Women’s Rights Convention

An American abolitionist, suffragist, and social activist, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was the leading figure of the women’s rights movement. She was a lawyer’s daughter who assembled a convention promoting women’s suffrage, civil right, equal wages, expanded education, marriage reform, and career opportunities.

Treaty of Fort Laramie

It was a treaty between the United States and the other nine representatives of Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapaho, Crow, Assiniboine, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nations. It gained the United States’ influence in Central America and set out their territorial claims. The U.S. acknowledged the Indian territories.

America opened its doors to Japan and Protected Hawaii

Having Daniel Webster as his highly competent Secretary of State, Millard Fillmore expressed his keen interest in opening America’s doors to Asia and the Pacific, with particular regard to Japan. The president dispatched Commodore Matthew Perry to operate a trade mission with Japan.

On the other hand, Millard Fillmore showed stiff competition against European nations in preventing the Hawaiian Islands from becoming a French or English colony. Napoleon III attempted to force an annexation treaty with Hawaii’s king; however, Millard Fillmore intimidated Napoleon III and warned him that the United States would not stand idle if another attempt occurs.

Clayton-Buwler Treaty of 1850

The treaty was a compromise agreement between England and the United States to harmonize the contending nation’s interests in Central America. The statute contained the joint control and protection of the Panama Canal and wished to neutralize Central America. Neither of the competing nations would occupy, fortify, colonize nor assume dominion over it.


Millard Fillmore’s policies during his presidency made him unpopular among the Whigs. As he expresses his intent to run in the office again, the Whigs turned down and denied his presidential nomination. Nevertheless, Millard Fillmore was credited for his decision to preserve the Union by championing the Compromise of 1850, which kept the United States from civil war for almost a decade.