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David Armitage
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Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President

Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President - Robert J. Rayback Rayback's biography of Millard Fillmore offers a full-throated defense of America's 13th president. Using Fillmore's letters and other documents, the author presents Fillmore as a principled and decent person who as president worked to bring about sectional peace during a tumultuous time. In doing this, however, Rayback distorts his subject's positions and leaves out key details, exaggerating Fillmore's opposition to slavery and downplaying his support for nativism rather than attempting to explain his true positions on these controversial subjects. Because of this, his book is best read in conjunction with a more critical work, such as Paul Finkelman's short study of Fillmore's presidency for "The American Presidents" series, in order to provide a balanced and complete assessment of Fillmore and his impact on American history.