Millard Fillmore was vice president during Zachary Taylor’s Presidency. Millard Fillmore replaced Zachary Taylor in office after Taylor’s sudden death during his term in office. President Taylor had opposed a compromise that would admitting California as a slave state, determining the decision of slavery in Utah and New Mexico by popular sovereignty, and strict fugitive slave laws. The Compromise of 1850 would be passed under President Zachary Fillmore’s presidency as he sought to prevent succession, despite he himself being opposed to slavery; Taylor was walking on eggshells.
He did believe. however that by signing off on the treaty, he was giving opportunity to improve transportation and develop trade. “Federal land grants encouraged the construction of new railroads. Settlement continued to move across the prairies.” (Millard Fillmore house) Besides trying to hold the country together and pushing for improvements internally, Taylor focused on the expansion of American economy signing the Treaty of Kanagawa that would open Japanese ports to American trade in 1854. In Letters form U.S. President Millard Fillmore and U.S. Navy Commodore Mathew C. Perry to the Emperor of Japan (1852-1853), Fillmore wrote that “I am desirous that our two countries should trade with each other, for the benefit both of Japan and the United States.” In his pursuit to open trade with Japan that had closed its ports to foreign trade with the exception with a few countries, Millard Fillmore was successful. He was not an amazing president and there is not much that is highly significant in his accomplishments, but as a temporary substitute he did well to prevent internal problems to get out of hand on American soil.
Letters form U.S. President Millard Fillmore and U.S. Navy Commodore Mathew C. Perry to the Emperor of Japan (1852-1853)