Fillmore signed the bills as they reached his desk, holding the Fugitive Slave Bill for two days until he received a favorable opinion as to its constitutionality from the new Attorney General, John J. Although some Northerners were unhappy at the Fugitive Slave Act, relief was widespread, as was the hope this would settle the slavery question. The Fugitive Slave Act was also the root of contention after its enactment: Southerners complained bitterly about any leniency in its application, but its enforcement was highly offensive to many Northerners. Abolitionists recited the inequities of the law: it punished severely anyone aiding an escaped slave, and it granted no due process to the escapee, who could not testify before a magistrate.
The law also permitted higher payment to the hearing magistrate for deciding the escapee was a slave rather than free. Nevertheless, Fillmore believed himself bound by his oath as president and by the bargain made in the Compromise to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. He did so even though some prosecutions or attempts to return slaves ended badly for the government, with acquittals or the slave taken from federal custody and freed by a Boston mob. Such cases were widely publicized North and South, and inflamed passions in both places, undermining the good feeling that had followed the Compromise.
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In August , the social reformer Dorothea Dix wrote to Fillmore, urging support of her proposal in Congress for land grants to finance asylums for the impoverished mentally ill. Though her proposal did not pass, they became friends, meeting in person and corresponding, continuing well after Fillmore's presidency. A longtime supporter of national infrastructure development, Fillmore signed bills to subsidize the Illinois Central railroad from Chicago to Mobile , and for a canal at Sault Ste.
The completion of the Erie Railroad in New York prompted Fillmore and his cabinet to ride the first train from New York City to the shores of Lake Erie, in company with many other politicians and dignitaries. Fillmore made many speeches along the way from the train's rear platform, urging acceptance of the Compromise, and afterwards went on a tour of New England with his Southern cabinet members. Although Fillmore urged Congress to authorize a transcontinental railroad, it did not do so until a decade later.
Fillmore appointed one justice to the Supreme Court of the United States , and made four appointments to United States District Courts , including that of his law partner and cabinet officer, Nathan Hall, to the federal district court in Buffalo. In December, with Congress convened, Fillmore made formal nomination of Curtis, who was confirmed.
Sandford , and resigned as a matter of principle. Justice John McKinley 's death in led to repeated, fruitless attempts by the president to fill the vacancy. Fillmore's second choice, George Edmund Badger , asked that his name be withdrawn. Senator-elect Judah P.
Benjamin declined to serve. The nomination of William C.
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Micou , a New Orleans lawyer recommended by Benjamin, was not acted on by the Senate. The vacancy was finally filled after Fillmore's term, when President Franklin Pierce nominated John Archibald Campbell , who was confirmed by the Senate. Fillmore oversaw two highly competent Secretaries of State, Daniel Webster , and after the New Englander's death, Edward Everett , looking over their shoulders and making all major decisions. American merchants and shipowners wanted Japan "opened up" for trade. This would allow not only commerce, but permit American ships to call there for food and water, and in emergencies without being punished.
They were concerned that American sailors cast away on the Japanese coast were imprisoned as criminals. Perry on an expedition to open Japan to relations with the outside world. Perry and his ships reached Japan in July , four months after the end of Fillmore's term. Fillmore was a staunch opponent of European influence in Hawaii. France under Napoleon III sought to annex Hawaii, but backed down after Fillmore issued a strongly worded message warning that "the United States would not stand for any such action.
Fillmore had difficulties regarding Cuba ; many Southerners hoped to see the island part of the U.
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This resulted in riots against the Spanish in New Orleans, causing their consul to flee; historian Elbert E. Smith, who wrote of the Taylor and Fillmore presidencies, suggested that Fillmore could have had war against Spain had he wanted it. Instead, Fillmore, Webster and the Spanish worked out a series of face-saving measures that settled the crisis without armed conflict. Many Southerners, including Whigs, supported the filibusters, and Fillmore's response helped divide his party as the election approached.
A much-publicized event of Fillmore's presidency was the arrival in late of Lajos Kossuth , the exiled leader of a failed Hungarian revolution against Austria. Kossuth wanted the U. Many Americans were sympathetic to the Hungarian rebels, especially recent German immigrants, who were now coming to the U.
Kossuth was feted by Congress, and Fillmore allowed a White House meeting after receiving word that Kossuth would not try to politicize it.
In spite of his promise, Kossuth made a speech promoting his cause. The American enthusiasm for Kossuth petered out, and he departed for Europe; Fillmore refused to change American policy, remaining neutral. As the election of approached, Fillmore remained undecided whether to run for a full term as president. Secretary Webster had long coveted the presidency and, though past seventy, planned a final attempt to gain the White House.
Fillmore, sympathetic to the ambitions of his longtime friend, issued a letter in late stating that he did not seek a full term, but he was reluctant to rule it out, fearing the party would be captured by the Sewardites. Thus, approaching the national convention in Baltimore, to be held in June , the major candidates were Fillmore, Webster and General Scott. Weed and Seward backed Scott; in late May, the Democrats nominated former New Hampshire senator Franklin Pierce , who had been out of national politics for nearly a decade before , but whose profile had risen as a result of his military service in the Mexican War.
The nomination of Pierce, a northerner sympathetic to the southern view on slavery, united the Democrats and meant the Whig candidate would face an uphill battle to gain the presidency. Fillmore was by then unpopular with northern Whigs for signing and enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act, but had considerable support from the South, where he was seen as the only candidate capable of uniting the party. Once the convention passed a party platform endorsing the Compromise as a final settlement of the slavery question, Fillmore was willing to withdraw, but found that many of his supporters could not accept Webster and his action would nominate Scott.
The convention deadlocked, and this persisted through Saturday, June 19, when a total of 46 ballots had been taken; delegates adjourned until Monday. Party leaders proposed a deal to both Fillmore and Webster: if the secretary could increase his vote total over the next several ballots, enough Fillmore supporters would go along to put him over the top; if he could not, Webster would withdraw in favor of Fillmore. The president quickly agreed, but Webster did not do so until Monday morning. Each year, one meeting may commemorate the founding of the Relief Society and focus on its history and purposes.
In planning these meetings, Relief Society leaders give special attention to topics that the bishop has asked them to address to help meet local needs. Leaders also give priority to the following topics:. Marriage and family: preparing for marriage and family, strengthening marriages, motherhood, early childhood education, preparing youth for future responsibilities, encouraging and preparing for home evening, and strengthening extended family relationships.
Homemaking: learning and improving skills for the care of the home and family, such as cleaning and organizing, home beautification, cooking, and sewing.
Overview of Relief Society
Compassionate service: care of the sick, elderly, homebound, disabled, and poor and needy; support for new mothers and babies; and humanitarian and community aid. Temple and family history: collecting and preserving family history information, writing family histories, preparing for the temple, and doing temple work. Sharing the gospel: member missionary efforts, fellowshipping new and less-active members, neighborhood outreach, activation and retention, welcoming new sisters into Relief Society, and preparing for full-time missions.
With the approval of the bishopric, the Relief Society presidency asks Relief Society sisters or other ward members to supervise and teach this class. If Relief Society sisters teach the class, the Relief Society presidency rotates this responsibility so all the sisters can have the opportunity to attend the meetings. If men teach the class, the Relief Society presidency follows the guidelines in They may use Primary manuals and other Primary materials to teach the children. He loved, taught, prayed for, comforted, and blessed those around Him, inviting all to follow Him see Mark Ministering sisters prayerfully seek to serve as He would.
To provide such care, each adult sister has ministering sisters assigned to watch over her. Members of the Relief Society presidency instruct ministering sisters on how to care for, watch over, remember, and strengthen one another. Presidency members can give this instruction in a ministering interview, in a Sunday meeting, or in another Relief Society meeting.
Ministering sisters represent the Lord, the bishop, and Relief Society leaders. Ministering sisters seek to be led by the Spirit as they provide Christlike caring. They counsel with those they are assigned and seek inspiration about how best to meet their needs, using the time and resources available. Ministering sisters are flexible in how they minister. They customize their contacts and service, and any messages, to meet the needs of sisters. Personal visits are important when they can be made.
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Ministering sisters may also reach out through phone calls, texts, emails, letters, contacts at church, attendance at family events, and service. Meeting individual needs starts with prayerful consideration and with a conversation with the assigned sisters. Ministering sisters listen so they can understand how best to serve. They discuss the frequency and type of contact sisters desire. They also discuss the kind of messages sisters would like.
Ministering sisters can be an important source of help to those they serve. Some ways are listed below:. They help sisters strengthen their faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They help sisters and their families prepare for their next ordinance. They may help parents ensure that their children are blessed, baptized, and confirmed.
They may also help parents ensure that their sons have the Aaronic Priesthood and Melchizedek Priesthood conferred upon them and are ordained to priesthood offices at the appropriate ages. They offer help when sisters and their families are unemployed, ill, lonely, moving, or have other needs. Ministering is a coordinated effort between the elders quorum and the Relief Society.
Working under the direction of the bishop, the elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies prayerfully coordinate ministering as follows:. The elders quorum presidency recommends to the bishop ministering companionships and ministering assignments for the individuals and families of the ward.
The Relief Society presidency recommends ministering companionships and ministering assignments for Relief Society sisters.