Franklin Pierce (1804 - 1869) MP

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Birthplace: Hillsborough, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States
Death: Died in Concord, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, United States
Cause of death: dropsy
Occupation: 14th President of the US (1853-1857); US Sen. from New Hampshire (1837-1842), Sen, Cong, B Gen, Lawyer, U.S. President, elected 14th President of the United States, Presidente de los Estados Unidos, President
Managed by: Fay Elizabeth Baldwin
Last Updated:

About Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce (November 23, 1804 – October 8, 1869) was an American politician and the fourteenth President of the United States, serving from 1853 to 1857. To date, he is the only president from New Hampshire.

Born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, in 1804, Pierce attended Bowdoin College. After graduation he studied law, then entered politics. At 24 he was elected to the New Hampshire legislature; two years later he became its Speaker. During the 1830's he went to Washington, first as a Representative, then as a Senator.

Pierce was a Democrat and a "doughface" (a Northerner with Southern sympathies) who served in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Later, Pierce took part in the Mexican-American War and became a brigadier general. His private law practice in his home state, New Hampshire, was so successful that he was offered several important positions, which he turned down. Later, he was nominated for president as a dark horse candidate on the 49th ballot at the 1852 Democratic National Convention. In the presidential election, Pierce and his running mate William R. King won by a landslide, defeating the Whig Party ticket of Winfield Scott and William A. Graham by a 50 to 44% margin in the popular vote and 254 to 42 in the electoral vote.

Franklin Pierce became President at a time of apparent tranquility. The United States, by virtue of the Compromise of 1850, seemed to have weathered its sectional storm. By pursuing the recommendations of southern advisers, Pierce--a New Englander--hoped to prevent still another outbreak of that storm. But his policies, far from preserving calm, hastened the disruption of the Union.

Pierce, after serving in the Mexican War, was proposed by New Hampshire friends for the Presidential nomination in 1852. At the Democratic Convention, the delegates agreed easily enough upon a platform pledging undeviating support of the Compromise of 1850 and hostility to any efforts to agitate the slavery question. But they balloted 48 times and eliminated all the well-known candidates before nominating Pierce, a true "dark horse."

According to historian David Potter, Pierce was sometimes referred to as "Baby" Pierce, apparently in reference to both his youthful appearance and his being the youngest president to take office to that point (although he was only a year younger than James K. Polk when he took office).

Probably because the Democrats stood more firmly for the Compromise than the Whigs, and because Whig candidate Gen. Winfield Scott was suspect in the South, Pierce won with a narrow margin of popular votes.

His inoffensive personality caused him to make many friends, but he suffered tragedy in his personal life and as president subsequently made decisions which were widely criticized and divisive in their effects, thus giving him the reputation as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history.

Two months before he took office, he and his wife saw their eleven-year-old son killed when their train was wrecked. Grief-stricken, Pierce entered the Presidency nervously exhausted.

In his Inaugural he proclaimed an era of peace and prosperity at home, and vigor in relations with other nations. The United States might have to acquire additional possessions for the sake of its own security, he pointed out, and would not be deterred by "any timid forebodings of evil."

Pierce had only to make gestures toward expansion to excite the wrath of northerners, who accused him of acting as a cat's-paw of Southerners eager to extend slavery into other areas. Therefore he aroused apprehension when he pressured Great Britain to relinquish its special interests along part of the Central American coast, and even more when he tried to persuade Spain to sell Cuba.

Pierce's popularity in the North declined sharply after he came out in favor of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, repealing the Missouri Compromise and reopening the question of the expansion of slavery in the West. Pierce's credibility was further damaged when several of his diplomats issued the Ostend Manifesto. Historian David Potter concludes that the Ostend Manifesto and the Kansas-Nebraska Act were "the two great calamities of the Franklin Pierce administration.... Both brought down an avalanche of public criticism." More important says Potter, they permanently discredited Manifest Destiny and "popular sovereignty" as a political doctrine and slogan of that time that purported to delegate the decision as to whether slavery should be allowed in a particular territory to the eligible white male voters therein, instead of being determined by a national scheme such as that embodied in the Missouri Compromise and similar agreements between the free and slave interests.

This measure, the handiwork of Senator Stephen A. Douglas, grew in part out of his desire to promote a railroad from Chicago to California through Nebraska. Already Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, advocate of a southern transcontinental route, had persuaded Pierce to send James Gadsden to Mexico to buy land for a southern railroad. He purchased the area now comprising southern Arizona and part of southern New Mexico for $10,000,000.

Douglas's proposal, to organize western territories through which a railroad might run, caused extreme trouble. Douglas provided in his bills that the residents of the new territories could decide the slavery question for themselves. The result was a rush into Kansas, as southerners and northerners vied for control of the territory. Shooting broke out, and "bleeding Kansas" became a prelude to the Civil War.

By the end of his administration, Pierce could claim "a peaceful condition of things in Kansas." But, to his disappointment, the Democrats refused to renominate him, turning to the less controversial James Buchanan.

Pierce returned to New Hampshire, leaving his successor to face the rising fury of the sectional whirlwind. After losing the Democratic nomination, Pierce continued his lifelong struggle with alcoholism as his marriage to Jane Means Appleton Pierce fell apart. His reputation was destroyed during the American Civil War when he declared support for the Confederacy, and personal correspondence between Pierce and Confederate President Jefferson Davis was leaked to the press. He died in 1869 from cirrhosis.(Note: death certificate says dropsy; which is edema from congestive heart failure)

Philip B. Kunhardt and Peter W. Kunhardt reflected the views of many historians when they wrote in The American President that Pierce was "a good man who didn't understand his own shortcomings. He was genuinely religious, loved his wife and reshaped himself so that he could adapt to her ways and show her true affection. He was one of the most popular men in New Hampshire, polite and thoughtful, easy and good at the political game, charming and fine and handsome. However, he has been criticized as timid and unable to cope with a changing America."

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Pierce Manse http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierce_Manse http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_Hampshire_Historical_Markers_%28101%E2%80%93125%29

http://www.americanheritage.com/people/presidents/pierce_franklin.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Pierce -------------------- 14. FRANKLIN PIERCE 1853-1857

Franklin Pierce became President at a time of apparent tranquility. The United States, by virtue of the Compromise of 1850, seemed to have weathered its sectional storm. By pursuing the recommendations of southern advisers, Pierce--a New Englander--hoped to prevent still another outbreak of that storm. But his policies, far from preserving calm, hastened the disruption of the Union.

Born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, in 1804, Pierce attended Bowdoin College. After graduation he studied law, then entered politics. At 24 he was elected to the New Hampshire legislature; two years later he became its Speaker. During the 1830's he went to Washington, first as a Representative, then as a Senator.

Pierce, after serving in the Mexican War, was proposed by New Hampshire friends for the Presidential nomination in 1852. At the Democratic Convention, the delegates agreed easily enough upon a platform pledging undeviating support of the Compromise of 1850 and hostility to any efforts to agitate the slavery question. But they balloted 48 times and eliminated all the well-known candidates before nominating Pierce, a true "dark horse."

Probably because the Democrats stood more firmly for the Compromise than the Whigs, and because Whig candidate Gen. Winfield Scott was suspect in the South, Pierce won with a narrow margin of popular votes.

Two months before he took office, he and his wife saw their eleven-year-old son killed when their train was wrecked. Grief-stricken, Pierce entered the Presidency nervously exhausted.

In his Inaugural he proclaimed an era of peace and prosperity at home, and vigor in relations with other nations. The United States might have to acquire additional possessions for the sake of its own security, he pointed out, and would not be deterred by "any timid forebodings of evil."

Pierce had only to make gestures toward expansion to excite the wrath of northerners, who accused him of acting as a cat's-paw of Southerners eager to extend slavery into other areas. Therefore he aroused apprehension when he pressured Great Britain to relinquish its special interests along part of the Central American coast, and even more when he tried to persuade Spain to sell Cuba.

But the most violent renewal of the storm stemmed from the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and reopened the question of slavery in the West. This measure, the handiwork of Senator Stephen A. Douglas, grew in part out of his desire to promote a railroad from Chicago to California through Nebraska. Already Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, advocate of a southern transcontinental route, had persuaded Pierce to send James Gadsden to Mexico to buy land for a southern railroad. He purchased the area now comprising southern Arizona and part of southern New Mexico for $10,000,000.

Douglas's proposal, to organize western territories through which a railroad might run, caused extreme trouble. Douglas provided in his bills that the residents of the new territories could decide the slavery question for themselves. The result was a rush into Kansas, as southerners and northerners vied for control of the territory. Shooting broke out, and "bleeding Kansas" became a prelude to the Civil War.

By the end of his administration, Pierce could claim "a peaceful condition of things in Kansas." But, to his disappointment, the Democrats refused to renominate him, turning to the less controversial Buchanan. Pierce returned to New Hampshire, leaving his successor to face the rising fury of the sectional whirlwind. He died in 1869. -------------------- US President -------------------- 14th United States President. He was born in Hillsborugh, New Hampshire, to a father who served in the Revolutionary War and became its governor. Franklin Pierce's early education was at the Hancock and Francistown Academy then graduating from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine. After graduation, he studied law under a local judge, spent two years in Law School at North Hampton, Mass, admitted to the Bar and began practice in his native town of Hillsbourgh. In a chance meeting, he met Jane Appleton, the daughter of the former President of Bowdoin College which became a tragic marriage. She was a religious eccentric who blamed all events on the wrath of god brought on my her husbands political life. Their first son died on the third day of birth and the second born three years later died of typhus and the third was killed at the age of eleven in a tragic train derailment when Franklin Pierce was the President-elect. During his one term in office, he made no cabinet changes and expressed little or no interest in the presidency. However, his administration had some achievements: A dispute involving the boundary between the United States and Mexico was settled creating the Territory of Arizona. A serious fishery question with Great Britain off the coast of Newfoundland was settled by mutual and peaceful concessions. At the termination of his term, his wife was slowly dying from tuberculosis. Pierce took her to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean for treatment. Jane Pierce was in deep depression and merely trudged about weeping while clutching her son's bible and a box with locks of hair from all three of her lost children. Life for President Pierce became even worst. He spent most of the pre-Civil war years in Europe then returned to his residence in Concord. Probably the only good occurred when his wife mercifully died and was buried beside her two sons in the Old North Cemetery in Concord. He then became as reclusive as his wife had been. The Presidents health began to decline aided by his heavy use of alcohol dying of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 64. He lay in state in Doric Hall in Concord followed by a funeral at St. Paul's Episcopal Church and was buried beside his wife and children. Even though after his death he was virtually forgotten, His legacy shines in New England: The Pierce homestead in Hillsborough was constructed by his father the year Franklin was born. Here Daniel Webster was entertained and in the ballroom on the second floor, Franklin Pierce drilled local militia groups. The mansion is maintained and operated by the Hillsborough Historical Society. The Pierce Manse, Concord was originally located at 14 Penacock Street and was the only house ever owned and occupied by the Pierces with their two children. Threatened with demolition in 1966 it was saved and moved to a site in Concord's Historic District. The house has been restored and many of the furnishings either belonged to Pierce or other members of his family. A historic preservation group, The Brigade owns the house and maintains it as a memorial to New Hampshire's only President. The Gravesite at Old North Cemetery in Concord was refurbished and the deteriorating markers were replaced by a single granite spire with all the names inscribed. The first child was buried elsewhere at the time of death.

bio by: Donald Greyfield

Link

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=814



      
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Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the USA's Timeline

1804
November 23, 1804
Hillsborough, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States
1826
1826
- present
Age 21
Northampton, Massachusetts, United States
1827
1827
- 1833
Age 22
Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States
1829
1829
- 1833
Age 24
Concord, New Hampshire, United States
1833
1833
- 1837
Age 28
Washington, DC, United States
1834
November 19, 1834
Age 29
Amherst, NH
1836
February 2, 1836
Age 31
Hillsborough, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States
1837
1837
- 1841
Age 32
Washington, DC, United States
1839
August 27, 1839
Age 34
Concord, New Hampshire
1841
April 13, 1841
Age 36
Concord, New Hampshire