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Millard Fillmore

Geburtstag: 7. Januar 1800
Todesdatum: 8. März 1874

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Millard Fillmore war ein US-amerikanischer Politiker der Whig Party und vom 9. Juli 1850 bis zum 4. März 1853 der 13. Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten.

Fillmore stammte aus einfachen Verhältnissen und studierte später Rechtswissenschaften. Seine politische Karriere begann mit der Wahl ins US-Repräsentantenhaus, dem er von 1833 bis 1843 für die Whig Party angehörte. Nach einer gescheiterten Kandidatur als Gouverneur von New York gelang ihm jedoch später in das Amt des New York State Comptrollers gewählt zu werden. Diesen Posten bekleidete Fillmore von 1848 bis 1849. 1848 zum Vizepräsidentschaftskandidaten der Whig Party nominiert, wurde er im November dieses Jahres an der Seite von Zachary Taylor zum US-Vizepräsidenten gewählt. Dieses Amt trat er im März 1849 an. Nach dem überraschenden Tod von Präsident Taylor im Juli 1850 musste Fillmore für den Rest der Amtszeit selbst die Präsidentschaft übernehmen. Seine Regierungszeit war stark von dem sich verschärfenden Konflikt zwischen den Nord- und Südstaaten um die Sklaverei geprägt. Streitpunkt war vor allem, ob die im Zuge des Mexikanisch-Amerikanischen Krieges hinzugewonnen Gebiete die Sklaverei annehmen oder verbieten sollten. Mit dem von Fillmore unterstützten Kompromiss von 1850 wurde zunächst ein Ausgleich gefunden, der jedoch keineswegs alle politischen Akteure zufriedenstellte. Besonders die mangelnde Unterstützung aus den nördlichen Bundesstaaten verhinderte bei der nächsten Präsidentschaftswahl im Jahr 1852 die Nominierung des Präsidenten durch seine eigene Partei. Daher musste er im März 1853 das Weiße Haus verlassen, ohne sich einem Wählervotum gestellt zu haben. Im Jahr 1856 kandidierte er für die Know-Nothing Party, eine kurzlebige Splitterpartei, nochmals vergeblich für die Präsidentschaft. Bis zu seinem Tode 1874 trat Fillmore nicht mehr politisch in Erscheinung.

Zitate Millard Fillmore

„Diese Nahrung ist schmackhaft.“

— Millard Fillmore
Letzte Worte zu seinem Arzt; er meint seine letzte Mahlzeit, 8. März 1874

„Let us remember that revolutions do not always establish freedom. Our own free institutions were not the offspring of our Revolution. They existed before.“

— Millard Fillmore
Context: In less than ten years her Government was changed from a republic to an empire, and finally, after shedding rivers of blood, foreign powers restored her exiled dynasty and exhausted Europe sought peace and repose in the unquestioned ascendency of monarchical principles. Let us learn wisdom from her example. Let us remember that revolutions do not always establish freedom. Our own free institutions were not the offspring of our Revolution. They existed before. They were planted in the free charters of self-government under which the English colonies grew up, and our Revolution only freed us from the dominion of a foreign power whose government was at variance with those institutions. But European nations have had no such training for self-government, and every effort to establish it by bloody revolutions has been, and must, without that preparation, continue to be a failure. Liberty, unregulated by law, degenerates into anarchy, which soon becomes the most horrid of all despotisms. Our policy is wisely to govern ourselves, and thereby to set such an example of national justice, prosperity, and true glory, as shall teach to all nations the blessings of self-government, and the unparalleled enterprise and success of a free people. Refering to the French Revolution

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„The whole country is full of enterprise. Our common schools are diffusing intelligence among the people and our industry is fast accumulating the comforts and luxuries of life.“

— Millard Fillmore
Context: The whole country is full of enterprise. Our common schools are diffusing intelligence among the people and our industry is fast accumulating the comforts and luxuries of life. This is in part owing to our peculiar position, to our fertile soil and comparatively sparse population; but much of it is also owing to the popular institutions under which we live, to the freedom which every man feels to engage in any useful pursuit according to his taste or inclination, and to the entire confidence that his person and property will be protected by the laws. But whatever may be the cause of this unparalleled growth in population, intelligence, and wealth, one thing is clear — that the Government must keep pace with the progress of the people. It must participate in their spirit of enterprise, and while it exacts obedience to the laws and restrains all unauthorized invasions of the rights of neighboring states, it should foster and protect home industry and lend its powerful strength to the improvement of such means of intercommunication as are necessary to promote our internal commerce and strengthen the ties which bind us together as a people. It is not strange, however much it may be regretted, that such an exuberance of enterprise should cause some individuals to mistake change for progress and the invasion of the rights of others for national prowess and glory. The former are constantly agitating for some change in the organic law, or urging new and untried theories of human rights. The latter are ever ready to engage in any wild crusade against a neighboring people, regardless of the justice of the enterprise and without looking at the fatal consequences to ourselves and to the cause of popular government. Such expeditions, however, are often stimulated by mercenary individuals, who expect to share the plunder or profit of the enterprise without exposing themselves to danger, and are led on by some irresponsible foreigner, who abuses the hospitality of our own Government by seducing the young and ignorant to join in his scheme of personal ambition or revenge under the false and delusive pretense of extending the area of freedom. These reprehensible aggressions but retard the true progress of our nation and tarnish its fair fame. They should therefore receive the indignant frowns of every good citizen who sincerely loves his country and takes a pride in its prosperity and honor.

„It is not strange, however much it may be regretted, that such an exuberance of enterprise should cause some individuals to mistake change for progress and the invasion of the rights of others for national prowess and glory.“

— Millard Fillmore
Context: The whole country is full of enterprise. Our common schools are diffusing intelligence among the people and our industry is fast accumulating the comforts and luxuries of life. This is in part owing to our peculiar position, to our fertile soil and comparatively sparse population; but much of it is also owing to the popular institutions under which we live, to the freedom which every man feels to engage in any useful pursuit according to his taste or inclination, and to the entire confidence that his person and property will be protected by the laws. But whatever may be the cause of this unparalleled growth in population, intelligence, and wealth, one thing is clear — that the Government must keep pace with the progress of the people. It must participate in their spirit of enterprise, and while it exacts obedience to the laws and restrains all unauthorized invasions of the rights of neighboring states, it should foster and protect home industry and lend its powerful strength to the improvement of such means of intercommunication as are necessary to promote our internal commerce and strengthen the ties which bind us together as a people. It is not strange, however much it may be regretted, that such an exuberance of enterprise should cause some individuals to mistake change for progress and the invasion of the rights of others for national prowess and glory. The former are constantly agitating for some change in the organic law, or urging new and untried theories of human rights. The latter are ever ready to engage in any wild crusade against a neighboring people, regardless of the justice of the enterprise and without looking at the fatal consequences to ourselves and to the cause of popular government. Such expeditions, however, are often stimulated by mercenary individuals, who expect to share the plunder or profit of the enterprise without exposing themselves to danger, and are led on by some irresponsible foreigner, who abuses the hospitality of our own Government by seducing the young and ignorant to join in his scheme of personal ambition or revenge under the false and delusive pretense of extending the area of freedom. These reprehensible aggressions but retard the true progress of our nation and tarnish its fair fame. They should therefore receive the indignant frowns of every good citizen who sincerely loves his country and takes a pride in its prosperity and honor.

„An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory.“

— Millard Fillmore
[http://books.google.com/books?id=Ihs8AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA407&dq=honorable+defeat Speech] (13 September 1844), Buffalo, New York, quoted in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser (14 September 1844). Fillmore had lost the Whig nomination for governor of New York. The newspaper summary was: "He entreated them to enter the contest with zeal and enthusiasm; but as they valued the sacredness of their cause, and the stability of their principles, to resort to no unfair means: that an honorable defeat was better than a dishonorable victory."

„May God save the country, for it is evident that the people will not.“

— Millard Fillmore
Letter to Henry Clay (11 November 1844), as quoted in Presidential Wit from Washington to Johnson (1966) edited by Bill Adler

„God knows that I detest slavery, but it is an existing evil, for which we are not responsible, and we must endure it, and give it such protection as is guaranteed by the constitution, till we can get rid of it without destroying the last hope of free government in the world.“

— Millard Fillmore
Regarding enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act (1850), as quoted in [http://web.archive.org/web/20130703082712/http://home.nas.com/lopresti/ps13.htm Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President] (1959), by Robert J. Rayback, p. 252 and p. 271

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