• Born: November 23rd, 1804 in Hillsboro, New Hampshire
• Died: October 8th, 1869, Concord, New Hampshire
• Married to: Jane Means Appleton Pierce
• Children: 3
• Other occupations: Lawyer, Military, US Senator, Congressman
• Party affiliation: Democrat
• Vice President: William R. King
• Burial site: Old North Cemetery, Concord, N.H.
Franklin Pierce, this nation’s 14th president, took over the White House at a time of apparent tranquillity because of the Compromise of 1850, which seemed to have stemmed the tide of sectionalism.
The son of a Revolutionary hero, General Benjamin Pierce, he was a classmate of writers Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. After service in both Houses of Congress, he retired from office and refused nominations for senator and governor and declined President Polk’s offer to name him attorney general. While serving in the U.S. Senate, he was the youngest senator of his day.
When the Mexican War broke out, Pierce enlisted as a private and did such a good job he came out a brigadier general. At Contreras, his horse was shot out from under him, and he was badly wounded.
Pierce was a compromise candidate in the 1852 Democratic convention, which nominated him on the 35th ballot. Two months before he took office, his 11-year-old son was killed in a train wreck, and Pierce entered the presidency nervously exhausted.
Pierce approved Stephen A. Douglas’ KansasNebraska bill, which allowed these territories to decide for themselves about slavery and repealed the “Missouri Compromise.”
This brought about more strife, and while secession did not come during his administration, Kansas was scarcely ever peaceful again for 10 years.
During the Pierce administration, Commodore Matthew C. Perry visited Japan and made the United States’ first treaty with that empire. The Gadsden Purchase settled our Mexican boundary.
His accomplishments pleased neither the north nor the south, and he was not renominated. Jefferson Davis had been his secretary of war.
He traveled extensively in Europe in later years; and he died October 8, 1869, at Concord, N.H., of stomach trouble. Pierce was buried in Old North Cemetery in Concord.