Millard Fillmore was a self-made man who raised himself from deep poverty to political prominence in New York State. In 1848, the Whig party nominated him for vice president on the ticket with General Zachary Taylor. When Taylor died in July 1850, Fillmore was suddenly president of a country divided on the spread of slavery to territories recently added to the United States. He threw his support behind the Compromise of 1850, then being debated in Congress, and signed it into law in 1850, hoping to end the emotional debate. Instead, the compromise was condemned by proslavery and antislavery forces alike, and Fillmore's support for it effectively ended his political career. In 1852, the Whig party refused to nominate Fillmore for the presidency.
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