Monday, March 01, 2010

Abe as Good as Millard: Alexander Stephens

In the summer of 1860, Georgia radicals were warning that the election of Abraham Lincoln would mean disaster for the south. Secession would be the only remedy.

Cooperationist (and future vice president of the Confederate States) Alexander Stephens was unconvinced. Writing to a friend in July 1860, Stephens opined that Lincoln, if elected, would be as good as, and perhaps better than, . . . wait for it . . . Millard Fillmore!
"I know the man [Lincoln] well," [Stephens wrote], "he is not a bad man." In fact, Stephens predicted, "He will make as good a President as Fillmore did and better too in my opinion."

Michael P. Johnson, Toward a Patriarchal Republic: The Secession of Georgia.


  1. Has to be the only time I've ever heard Fillmore and Lincoln compared, good stuff.

  2. Christopher,

    Thanks. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but as long ago as 2006(!) I noted similarities between Millard and Abe:

    "Indeed, in a number of respects Fillmore's background strikes me as similar to Lincoln's. From humble beginnings, he was driven by the desire for self-improvement and ambition (in the best sense of the term). Through hard work he became a lawyer and intermittent legislator and was highly respected by his local community and those who knew him. He became a Whig who believed (and stated, even during the campaign) that slavery was evil and that it should not be extended to the Territories, while affirming that slavery in the southern States was a matter for those States alone."

  3. Great post

    This reminds of another post you did. Did the Southern establishment fear Lincoln or feared a Republican party taking hold in the south


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