The popular hero of the Mexican-American War, Zachary Taylor, died on July 9. For the second time, a vice president was sworn in to replace the elected president.
Millard Fillmore was that vice president.
Fillmore ended the run of presidents by Whig Party members, the last Whig. He served out the term of Taylor, but despite trying, never succeeded in winning election on his own.
Most people including historians know little about Fillmore, except his unsavory role in signing the Fugitive Slave Act, and thereby pushing the nation closer to civil war. The hoax on Fillmore’s allegedly introducing a plumbed bathtub to the White House, by H. L. Mencken in 1917, stained Fillmore’s reputation and chased out most information about good things he had done, such as opening Japan to trade.
There are morals about hoaxes and fake news in Fillmore’s story. Those morals are much lost to history now.
- A longer article on Fillmore’s accession to the presidency from Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub
- Compilation of sources on Millard Fillmore’s life
- 100th anniversary of Mencken’s hoax on Millard Fillmore and the bathtub
- Is Donald Trump really a reincarnation of Millard Fillmore? The BBC story
- Millard Fillmore’s Guano Day speech, December 2
- Millard Fillmore and Commodore Matthew Perry’s mission to open Japan
I think Fillmore said “May God save the country, for it is evidence the Congress will not.” Haven’t looked at that one in a great while.
Thanks for the news!
This is all I could find.
No bathtub races.
Is it true that he said, “May God save the country, for it is evident that the people will not?”
Got a link to the story of the graveside commemoration?
For several years, I called SUNY Buffalo and got their PR people to agree to send me a copy of the graveside speech. Never got one. I’ve stopped trying.
Happy 219th birthday to Millard Fillmore. SUNYAB is celebrating at the cemetery today. Read about it, and of course, thought of the Bathtub.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Richmx2, the statues of presidents idea came from a Gutzon Borglum bust of Abraham Lincoln that was a tourist draw at Rapid City’s Alex Johnson Hotel. Obama’s statue was installed this past year, if I remember correctly — but the original bust of Lincoln has moved on, to a Borglum museum down the road.
Rushmore, nearby, is inspirational and beautiful, and smaller than Crazy Horse (which is really worth a trip); but Rapid City is a great place to spend a day or two and track down all the statues of presidents.
Forget about that other Presidential monument in Rapid City… this is the one to see :-)
Heroes meet! Is that a book in his hand? I never heard Trump mentioning a book.