July 10, 1832. President Andrew Jackson vetoed a bill that would have re-chartered the Second Bank of the U.S. Jackson said the Second Bank — the U.S. central bank — was corrupt, benefited mostly rich Americans, and was a threat to liberty. The president used his executive power to remove all federal funds from the bank.

President George Washington and his Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton had created a U.S. central bank in 1791 to hold federal funds. This first bank's charter expired in 1811, and five years later the Second Bank was founded. The bank had traditionally been run by a board of directors with ties to industry and manufacturing; Jackson saw this as bias in favor of urban and industrial northern states. He resented what he saw as the bank's lack of interest in financing expansion into unsettled Western territories — and having, in his view, too much political and economic power, including a lack of congressional oversight over its business dealings.

July 10, 1850: Millard Fillmore was sworn in as the 13th president, following the death the day before of President Zachary Taylor. Known as "Old Rough and Ready," Taylor died just 16 months into his term. The cause of his death has never been fully determined. Fillmore's swearing-in capped a tumultuous time in the history of the American presidency: six presidents in nine years.

Fillmore's presidency — generally regarded as a failure — is known principally for one thing: his signing in 1850 of the Fugitive Slave Act. It said runaway slaves had to be returned to their masters. The Fugitive Slave Act, part of the Compromise of 1850, was meant to ease North-South tension. Instead, it ignited Northern protests and deepened the rift. Ironically, President Fillmore opposed slavery but signed the Fugitive Slave Act anyway, fearing the South might secede from the Union.

Quote of the Day

"It is not strange . . . to mistake change for progress." -Millard Fillmore

More from West Wing Reports...