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The Miller Center is a nonpartisan institute that seeks to expand understanding of the presidency, policy, and political history, providing critical insights for the nation’s governance challenges.

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A month of presidents...

Millard Fillmore

Millard Fillmore was born into desperate poverty. As a child he apprenticed with a clothmaker, but it was a brutal arrangement that stopped just short of slavery.

Fillmore taught himself to read, stealing books on occasion, and finally managed to borrow thirty dollars and pay his obligation to the clothmaker. Free, he walked one hundred miles to get back home to his family.

Obsessed with educating himself, Fillmore pored over every book he could get his hands on. He married his teacher—who was just two years older than him—in 1826.

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