Presidents: Franklin Pierce

posted in: Presidents | 0


Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce is one of the most forgotten presidents. He also suffered a considerable loss in his family which lead to depression and alcoholism.

Franklin Pierce was born on November 23, 1804 in Hillsborough, New Hampshire. He was the fifth of eight children born to Benjamin and Anna Kendrick Pierce.

He attended school at Hillsborough Center and later Philip’s Exeter Academy before heading to college at Bowdoin College in Maine. Upon completion of college, Pierce attended law school.

In 1827, he was admitted to the bar. The following year he won his first election when he ran for Hillsborough town moderator. This was a position he would hold for the next six years.

He joined the state militia in 1831. He would stay in the militia until 1845, reaching the rank of colonel.

In 1832, Pierce was nominated for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce married Jane Means Appleton on November 19, 1834. The couple had three sons, all who died during childhood. Their first son died in 1836, at the age of three days old.

In 1837, Pierce began a term in the U.S. Senate. He would resign from his position in February 1842.

Franklin Pierce worked as a lawyer, but remained active in the Democratic party. In 1843, the Pierce’s lost their second son, at four years old, to typhus.

In 1846, he turned down an opportunity to serve as President Polk

‘s Attorney General in order to fight with General Zachary Taylor in the Mexican-American War. During the war he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. He returned home to a hero’s welcome, which boosted his popularity and political career.

In November 1852, Pierce won the Presidential election on the Democratic ticket. He was the youngest man ever elected at this time. The joy of winning the election was soon thrust into mourning before it ever began.

On January 6, 1853, the Pierce family was traveling by train when the train car they were in derailed and rolled down an embankment near Andover, Massachusetts. Franklin and Jane Pierce both survived, but their 11-year-old son, Benjamin, was crushed to death. Both Franklin and Jane Pierce suffered from severe depression after the wreck.

Franklin Pierce

Pierce strived to unite a squabbling Democratic party during his time in office. He also was challenged by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, to settle the Nebraska Territory. He also fought for better pay for army officers.

Although Pierce hoped to renominated by the Democrats for re-election, he was not and finally endorsed James Buchanan.

Franklin Pierce left office on March 4, 1857. He and Jane spent the next three years traveling.

With the dawn of the Civil War, Pierce proposed an assembly of former U.S. Presidents to help resolve the issue, but it was not acted on. “I will never justify, sustain or in any way or to any extent uphold this cruel, heartless, aimless, unnecessary war,” Pierce wrote to his wife.

Jane Pierce died in December 1863 from tuberculosis. In May 1864, he was with good friend from college days, author Nathaniel Hawthorne when he unexpectedly died.

Franklin Pierce’s drinking worsened over the years. He was urged at times to run for President, but always refused.

On October 8, 1869, Franklin Pierce died, suffering from cirrhosis of the liver. He was buried beside his wife, Jane, in the Old North Cemetery in concord, New Hampshire.

Franklin Pierce had the only original cabinet members for all four years of his term. The only President for this to occur. However, he is mainly forgotten by history and only remembered as one of the president’s that could not unite the country leading up to the Civil War.


14th President of the United States
(March 4, 1853 to March 3, 1857)Nickname: “Young Hickory of the Granite Hills”Born: November 23, 1804, in Hillsborough (now Hillsboro), New Hampshire
Died: October 8, 1869, in Concord, New Hampshire

Father: General Benjamin Pierce
Mother: Ann Kendrick Pierce
Married: Jane Means Appleton (1806-1863), on November 10, 1834
Children: Franklin Pierce (1836); Frank Robert Pierce (1839-43); Benjamin Pierce (1841-53)

Religion: Episcopalian
Education: Graduated from Bowdoin College (1824)
Occupation: Lawyer, public official
Political Party: Democrat

  • Served in New Hampshire Legislature, 1829-33
  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1833-37
  • Unites States Senate, 1837-42

Presidential Salary: $25,000/year

  • 1853
    • Gadsden Purchase
  • 1854
    • Kansas-Nebraska Act
    • Ostend Manifesto
    • Treaty with Japan negotiated by Commodore Matthew Perry


1804 Born on November 23, 1804 in Hillsboro, New Hampshire

1812 The War of 1812 which has also been called the second War for Independence, between the United States and Great Britain. Zachary Taylor served in the War of 1812, Black Hawk, Second Seminole, and Mexican wars

1814 Treaty of Fort Jackson ends Creek War

1826 Millard Fillmore was married to Abigail Powers Fillmoreon February 5, 1826

1829-33 Served in New Hampshire Legislature, 1829-33

1830 Indian Removal Act
Oregon Trail opens

1831 Nat Turner’s revolt

1832 Black Hawk War
Seminole War begins
Department of Indian Affairs established

1833-37 Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1833-37

1834 Franklin Pierce was married to Jane Means Appleton Pierce in 1834

1835 Texas War for Independence begins

1837 Battle of the Alamo

1837-42 Unites States Senate, 1837-42

1838 1838-1839: The Trail of Tears

1846 Mexican-American War begins. Franklin Pierce was made a brigadier general during the Mexican-American War

1853 Franklin Pierce became the Fourteenth President of America in 1853
1853 – Commodore Perry opens Japan

1854 1854 – Kansas-Nebraska Bill
1854 – Ostend Manifesto – The Ostend Manifesto showed how far the South was willing to go to acquire more territories favorable to slavery

1857 The Presidency of Franklin Pierce ended in 1857

1859 Oregon admission to the US
Harper’s Ferry Raid

1860 Pony Express begins

1861 The American Civil War, also called the War between the States, was waged from April 1861 until April 1865. The 4 year war was between the federal government of the United States and 11 Southern states that asserted their right to secede (withdraw) from the Union. Abraham Lincoln was the central figure of the American Civil War.

1863 Battle of Gettysburg

1864 Sand Creek Massacre

1865 Abraham Lincoln assassinated
United States Civil War ends

1866 Civil Rights Act of 1866
Ku Klux Klan founded

1867 Alaska Purchase from Russia

1869 He died of stomach inflammation on October 8, 1869 in Concord, New Hampshire. Franklin Pierce was buried in the Old North Cemetery




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.