Every U.S. president since Millard Fillmore has been affiliated with either the Republican or the Democratic party. Fillmore, though, was a member of the center-right Whig party, a group that sought to reverse many of President Andrew Jackson’s policies.

As Zachary Taylor’s vice president (1849–50), Fillmore presided over the Senate’s increasingly volatile debates on the Compromise of 1850, which he privately supported. When he ascended to the presidency upon Taylor’s death, he worked with senators to push through this complex bundle of laws, notably the Fugitive Slave Act. Fillmore’s enforcement of the new Fugitive Slave Act cost him the support of many Northern Whigs, and the party eventually nominated General Winfield Scott as its candidate, denying Fillmore the possibility of winning a term of his own.


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