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Amer Pres: Fillmore: The American Presidents Series: The 13th President, 1850-1853 (American Presidents)

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Amer Pres: Fillmore: The American Presidents Series: The 13th President, 1850-1853 (American Presidents) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The oddly named president whose shortsightedness and stubbornness fractured the nation and sowed the seeds of civil war

In the summer of 1850, America was at a terrible crossroads. Congress was in an uproar over slavery, and it was not clear if a compromise could be found. In the midst of the debate, President Zachary Taylor suddenly took ill and died. The presidency, and the crisis, now fell to the little-known vice president from upstate New York.

In this eye-opening biography, the legal scholar and historian Paul Finkelman reveals how Millard Fillmore's response to the crisis he inherited set the country on a dangerous path that led to the Civil War. He shows how Fillmore stubbornly catered to the South, alienating his fellow Northerners and creating a fatal rift in the Whig Party, which would soon disappear from American politics—as would Fillmore himself, after failing to regain the White House under the banner of the anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic "Know Nothing" Party.

Though Fillmore did have an eye toward the future, dispatching Commodore Matthew Perry on the famous voyage that opened Japan to the West and on the central issues of the age—immigration, religious toleration, and most of all slavery—his myopic vision led to the destruction of his presidency, his party, and ultimately, the Union itself.

Review:

"In this latest addition to the American Presidents series, Finkelman (Dred Scott v. Sanford), a professor at Albany Law School, describes Millard Fillmore's nearly forgotten presidency by rigidly contrasting him with Abraham Lincoln, another self-made man who wrestled with racial and regional tensions as president. Succeeding Zachary Taylor after his death in office in 1850, Fillmore sought to win a presidential election on his own merit. This led the New York native to try to placate the Southern states by implementing the Fugitive Slave Act, a nightmare for free blacks in the Northern states. Oddly, Finkelman fails to draw on evidence of nuance in Fillmore's and Lincoln's positions, instead using blanket statements to describe their political views. Finkelman's Fillmore remains elusive without complex discussions of his evolution during and after his presidency, and focuses primarily on slavery, the major issue Fillmore faced but hardly the only one. The accidental president's achievements in opening diplomatic efforts with Japan and his focus on economic issues (such as the creation of the San Francisco mint) garner little attention as Fillmore's presidency ushers in the inevitable war between the states. This book is an enlightening view into the often overlooked beginnings of the Civil War, which history buffs and students alike will find enjoyable. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Paul Finkelman is the author of Dred Scott v. Sandford: A Brief History and Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson. The author or editor of more than twenty-five books, he is a distinguished professor at Albany Law School and a noted specialist in American legal history, race, and constitutional law. He lives in Slingerlands, New York.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805087154
Author:
Finkelman, Paul
Publisher:
Times Books
Author:
Finkelman
Author:
Wilentz, Sean
Author:
Paul
Author:
Schlesinger, Arthur M.
Author:
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
Biography-Presidents and Heads of State
Series:
The American Presidents
Publication Date:
20110531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 black-and-white frontispiece, index
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Presidents and Heads of State
History and Social Science » US History » 1800 to Civil War
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century

Amer Pres: Fillmore: The American Presidents Series: The 13th President, 1850-1853 (American Presidents) New Hardcover
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$25.00 In Stock
Product details 192 pages Times Books - English 9780805087154 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this latest addition to the American Presidents series, Finkelman (Dred Scott v. Sanford), a professor at Albany Law School, describes Millard Fillmore's nearly forgotten presidency by rigidly contrasting him with Abraham Lincoln, another self-made man who wrestled with racial and regional tensions as president. Succeeding Zachary Taylor after his death in office in 1850, Fillmore sought to win a presidential election on his own merit. This led the New York native to try to placate the Southern states by implementing the Fugitive Slave Act, a nightmare for free blacks in the Northern states. Oddly, Finkelman fails to draw on evidence of nuance in Fillmore's and Lincoln's positions, instead using blanket statements to describe their political views. Finkelman's Fillmore remains elusive without complex discussions of his evolution during and after his presidency, and focuses primarily on slavery, the major issue Fillmore faced but hardly the only one. The accidental president's achievements in opening diplomatic efforts with Japan and his focus on economic issues (such as the creation of the San Francisco mint) garner little attention as Fillmore's presidency ushers in the inevitable war between the states. This book is an enlightening view into the often overlooked beginnings of the Civil War, which history buffs and students alike will find enjoyable. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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