“Fillmore … Is Precisely the Man for the Occasion”

Michael F. Holt

in The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195161045
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849635 | DOI:
“Fillmore … Is Precisely the Man for the Occasion”

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Developing tremendous momentum during the winter of 1850–1, the Union party movement challenged Millard Fillmore's hope of saving the Whig party as much as did the defiance he encountered from northern anti-Compromise Whigs. Their defection would abdicate control of northern Whig organizations to anti-Compromise men and possibly drive them into an explicitly anti-southern alliance with Free Soilers that could provoke the disunion he sought to avert. To Fillmore, therefore, the dangers from the South included both the secession movement and the Union party movement formed to prevent it. To demonstrate that neither secession nor a new party was necessary, he set out to prove that the Whig party was reliably pro-Union and could win elections on those grounds. This course enormously enhanced Fillmore's popularity among southern Whigs, who by 1852 clearly wanted him as the party's presidential nominee.

Keywords: Union party; Millard Fillmore; Whig party; defection; secession; anti-Compromise; Free Soilers; South

Chapter.  20005 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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