Millard Fillmore: It could have been a lot worse

Millard Fillmore gets a lot of flack in American history for being mediocre. He's almost known for not being very well known as in the Seinfeld episode about "The Fillmore Boys Gang".

Perhaps that's why the only book I could find on him was written in the 1930's by what I can only assume was an unrepentant Fillmorephile since the book was a 550 page opus on the life and times of Millard Fillmore.

As I choked down page after page of this uninspiring book written in the stilted language of academics of that time, I couldn't help but think that although this guy was clearly a little too fond of Fillmore, there's plenty of people out there that are too hard on him.

Yes, he didn't do a lot in office that was very notable other than sending Commodore Perry to Japan as the first American to open trade there and start the presidential library, but he also didn't do things that made him one of the nation's worst presidents either.

He didn't commit high treason like President Tyler who joined the Confederacy in his retirement (he was the only former president to die who was denied a state funeral and flags at half staff)

He didn't do nothing to try and stave off Civil War between the North and South as President Pierce did.

He didn't have active Confederate sympathizers in his cabinet like President Buchanan (they were actually feeding information to rebels on troop levels in Federal bases prior to the Civil War)

So I would argue that it could have been a lot worse and the guy kind of gets a bad rap.

It's also important to remember that he took over after the death of Taylor, so it's not as though he was elected with some big mandate anyway. No one expected much from President Ford right?

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