Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Millard Fillmore, the Man.

Let us now turn to the life of Millard Fillmore, last of the Whigs, major player in the secretive, Know Nothing movement, and strongly aligned with the Anti-Masonic movement. H.L. Mencken spread the myth that Fillmore installed the first bath tub in the White House. This is false and a lie. Actually Fillmore installed the first dumb waiter in the White House by retro-fitting an existing clothes chute. As a member of the Whigs Fillmore enjoyed the spell and tutelage of the Whig's boss and power broker, Thurlow Weed. It would be a short life for me if I awoke to find this name assigned to me. Weed wielded enough power to bend the will of the Whigs to his whims. Way too much alliteration. The Whigs are remembered for very little. That was so long ago. On the other had, the Know Nothing movement has a legacy that flourishes to this day. This secretive Anti- Irish immigrant movement, invented slogans printed on clothing. The first slogan on a shirt was created in 1847, emblazoned on night shirts, primarily in the Buffalo, NY, area. It read on the front,"I know nothing but my Country, my whole Country, and nothing but my Country." On the back it read, "So help me God." But we digress. Fillmore's greatest accomplishment was his defusing of a major war with Peru. Fillmore smoothed over a disagreement with the Peruvians, and tucked in the sheets. This then is all we care to know of Millard Fillmore. Father, husband, Peruvian peacemaker, dumb waiter maker, Know Nothing, and member of a secret movement that opposed another secret movement. The 13th President of the United States to have never been elected President of the United States.


SarahJane said...

So funny. You should do a Short Series on Obscure Presidents. To their credit I don't know who else would qualify.

ron hardy said...

I'm glad you thought it was funny. I don't know. I think your right Sarah. The gestalt of Fillmore casts a long shadow. With the exception of some obvious goofiness on my part most of this stuff is true about Millie. I look at pictures of Franklin Pierce, John Tyler, James Buchanan, and Chester Arthur. Only Chester Arthur seems to rise above the mundane for me. Only because I will call him Chet.