The sun was part of the Duke of York's coat of arms. An American Bald Eagle perches on top of the New World. The goddess, Liberty, on the left holds the royal crown beneath her feet, showing freedom from monarchies. On the right is the goddess Justice signifying equal treatment for everyone under the law. The center shows ships sailing on the Hudson River.
Millard Fillmore was one of the few presidents who really did grow up in a log cabin. As Vice-President many said Fillmore looked more like a president than the President, Zachary Taylor. When Taylor died unexpectedly after only a year and a half in office, Fillmore had the chance to play the part for which his countenance seemed to portray. But 1850 was a raucous year. The temperature on the slavery issue was rising and the President sat in the hot seat. Decisions he made could either stoke the fires on either side, or maintain the unsteady, compromising mood of the country. Although he accepted Henry Clay's compromises on slavery, he inflamed the Northerners with the Fugitive Slave Act which permitted slave owners to seize blacks in the North as fugitives without due process of law. Fillmore's party refused to back him for a second term. He tried in vain to run again in the next election, under the "Know-Nothings," an anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic party, but did so poorly that many history books don't even mention him. He spent his remaining years in Buffalo and became an active philanthropist.