Franklin Pierce
Served 1853-1857

Franklin Pierce was born November 13, 1804, in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, in a log cabin on the Contoacook River.

A skilled orator at 24, Pierce was elected to the New Hampshire legislature. Two years later, he became its Speaker. During the 1830s, he served as a Congressmen, then as a Senator. He volunteered to fight in the Mexican War and became a Colonel, but was often too sick to fight in any of the battles.

Next PageAfter he served in the Mexican War, Pierce’s New Hampshire friends proposed him for the Presidential nomination in 1852. At the Democratic Convention, delegates agreed to support the Compromise of 1850, but they balloted 48 times and eliminated all well-known candidates before nominating Pierce, a true “dark horse.” He won the election against Whig party candidate General Winfield Scott. His Vice President was William R. King.

He married Jane Means Appleton, and they had three sons, but all died very young. Two months before he took office, he and his wife saw their 11-year-old son killed when their train was wrecked. Pierce entered the Presidency grief-stricken and exhausted.

During Pierce’s term, Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise and reopened the question of slavery in the West. Representing the U.S., James Gadsden negotiated with Mexico to buy the area now comprising southern Arizona and southern New Mexico for $10,000,000. In the midst of Pierce’s term, a land rush by Northerner and Southerners led to a shooting war in Kansas. “Bleeding Kansas” became a prelude to the Civil War.

By the end of Pierce’s term in 1856, relative peace was restored, but Democrats refused to renominate him, turning instead to the less controversial James Buchanan. After his term, Pierce retired to New Hampshire to work his farm, where he died in 1869.

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1 Comment

  1. Claire Mclean
    November 19, 2013

    Claire Mclean
    November 17, 2013
    The Presidential Museums website is launched today, November 18th, and we are notifying as many people as we can to come on board and join the celebration. It is an important part of this web site to institute the CALENDAR feature and to keep it up to date with the direct input and co-operation of each Presidential Museum and Library starting with our dear “friend” and number 31 President of the United States, Herbert Hoover. We will be in touch with the Museums, asking for their help, this week so be on the look out for our call.
    This feature along with the monthly Calendar will also, we anticipate, act as a round robin and a chatter box about not just the Obama presidency, while we admit there is a lot to chat about there, but also involve all the presidencies. Joining in on the trivia, gossip, chatter and “twitter” will help make us all learned historians, so come on aboard and be our guest.
    Claire McLean,
    Founder and CEO


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