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Millard Fillmore is best known for assuming the presidency after the death of Zachary Taylor, becoming the 13th U.S. president.
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In foreign policy, President Millard Fillmore dispatched Commodore Perry to "open" Japan to western trade and worked to keep the Hawaiian Islands out of European hands. He also refused to back an invasion of Cuba by adventurous Southerners who wanted to expand slavery into the Caribbean. For this and his support of the Fugitive Slave Act, he was unpopular by many, and was subsequently passed over for re-nomination by the Whig Party in 1852.
As the Whig Party disintegrated, Millard Fillmore refused to join the emerging Republican Party. Instead, he ran for the presidency as a member of the American Party, which was affiliated with the Know-Nothing movement. Officially retired from politics, he criticized President James Buchanan for not taking immediate action when South Carolina seceded from the Union in 1860, but opposed President Lincoln's unconditional policies toward the South during the Civil War. He later supported President Andrew Johnson's more conciliatory approach during Reconstruction.
He returned to Buffalo, New York, where he died on March 8, 1874, from the after effects of a stroke.
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