- NAME: Franklin Pierce
- OCCUPATION: Military Leader, U.S. President, U.S. Representative
- BIRTH DATE: November 23, 1804
- DEATH DATE: October 08, 1869
- EDUCATION: Bowdoin College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Hillsboro, New Hampshire
- PLACE OF DEATH: Concord, Massachusetts
- Nickname: "Young Hickory of the Granite Hills"
- AKA: Franklin Pierce
- Nickname: "Fainting Frank"
Best Known For
Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States, signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, prompting a bloody conflict over Kansas' slavery status.
Jefferson Davis - The End (2:01)
Watch a short video about America's 14th President Franklin Pierce and his unstable term as president.
The hero who won the Civil War easily became the President of the United States, but quickly discovered the world of politics is a far cry from the military world.
A brief glimpse into the life of Jefferson Davis and his rise to lead the confederacy.
A glimpse into the persistent mind of Jefferson Davis.
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"I believe that involuntary servitude, as it exists in different States of this Confederacy, is recognized by the Constitution."
"The dangers of a concentration of all power in the general government of a confederacy so vast as ours are too obvious to be disregarded."
"With the Union my best and dearest earthly hopes are entwined."
Franklin Pierce, the 14th U.S. President, was born on November 23, 1804, in Hillsboro, New Hampshire. His father, Benjamin, was an American Revolutionary War hero who held some political prowess in the family's rural town. His mother, Anna Kendrick Pierce, had eight children, whose education she made her top priority.
At the age of 12, Pierce left the public schools system to attend private academies. When he turned 15, he enrolled at Bowdoin College in Maine, where he excelled at public speaking. In 1824, Pierce graduated fifth in his class.
In 1829, when Pierce was 24 years old, he was elected to the New Hampshire State Legislature. Within two years, he was selected as its Speaker of the House, with the aid of his father, who had by then been elected governor.
In the 1830s, Pierce was sent to Washington as a state representative. Despite his rapid ascent in the world of politics, Pierce soon found his life in Washington both tedious and lonesome. After developing a dependency on alcohol, he decided it was time to settle down. In 1834, he married a shy religious woman named Jane Means Appleton, who supported the temperance movement. Jane disliked the Washington lifestyle even more than her husband did. Nevertheless, a year after the couple's first of three sons were born, Pierce accepted his election to the U.S. Senate.
In 1841, under his wife's persistent urging, Pierce finally agreed to resign from the Senate. Afterward, he joined the temperance movement and started working as an attorney.
When the Mexican-American War began, Pierce became a private, helping to recruit men for the New Hampshire Volunteers. In 1847, Pierce, by then a brigadier general, led an expedition to invade the Mexican shores of Veracruz under General Winfield Scott.
When the Mexican government was still unwilling to give into America's demands, Pierce and Scott headed to Mexico City. Although they scored two victories there, Pierce injured his leg when he was thrown from his horse. While still recovering, he missed the Army's final victory at the Battle of Chapultepec, in 1847. After the war, Pierce went home to his family in New Hampshire.
Back in New Hampshire, Pierce became the leader of the state's Democratic Party. As the presidential election of 1852 approached, the Democratic Party sought a candidate who was a pro-slavery Northerner—to attract voters on both sides of the slavery issue.
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The first U.S. president, former military leader George Washington, took his oath of office on April 30, 1789, on the balcony of Federal Hall. From that moment onward, the United States' highest office has been filled regularly by elected officials who aim to serve the people under the guidance of the U.S. Constitution. Learn more about the 43 men who have served as America's chief executive.
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