1853 - 1857
Franklin Pierce was born in Hillsboro, New Hampshire on November 25, 1804. He was one of six presidents born in a log cabin. (He was the only president born in New Hampshire.) He was the first president born in the 19th Century.
Franklin Pierce's father served in Revolutionary war.
Pierce attended Bowdoin College in Maine.
He was 5' 10" tall.
Franklin Pierce met Jane Appleton in 1826. They were engaged for eight years.
Franklin Pierce served in the Mexican War.
In 1829 he was elected to the state legislature.
After that he served in the US House of Representatives.
In 1836 Franklin was elected a U.S. Senator from New Hampshire. He took the office when he was only 32 years old.
He ran for president against Winfield Scott. Winfield Scott was the last candidate for president of the Whig Party.
Pierce was a U.S. Senator when he was elected president.
When in congress he referred to the Abolitionist as "reckless fools."
Two months before his inauguration, the Pierce family was involved in a train wreck and their 11-year-old son, Benjamin, was thrown from the car and crushed to death before their eyes. His wife never recovered from the event. All three of their children died in childhood.
President Pierce did not use a bible to take the oath of office. He felt God had passed his judgment with the death of Pierce's son. He also didn't swear to his oath of office, he "affirmed" it.
Franklin Pierce gave his inaugural address without notes. He gave the 3,319 word speech from memory. He was the first. I am not sure that anyone else has done that.
Franklin Pierce was arrested for running over a woman while driving his carriage in Washington, DC. The charges were later dropped.
Franklin Pierce and his wife attended a multi race church in Washington, DC while he was president.
Pierce installed a hot water heating system in the White House. It was one of the first in the country.
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote his campaign biography.
His nickname was "Young Hickory of Granite Hills." Polk had been called Young Hickory so they added Granite Hills. Both men borrowed the name from Andrew Jackson who was called "Old Hickory."
When he took office, Pierce was the youngest and probably the handsomest president up to that time.
Library of Congress
He won the presidential election in a landslide. He had 254 electoral votes to 42 votes for General Winfield Scott.
Franklin Pierce didn't have a Vice President. William Rufus DeVane King was elected VP, but died before assuming office, and was not replaced. He was the second President who didn't have a Vice President. Fillmore was the first.
He appointed Jefferson Davis as his Secretary of War. Davis went on to become president of the Confederate States.
Pierce always dressed in black.
Pierce was the only president to have his cabinet stay intact through his entire time as president. No one left, quit or was asked to resign.
He had a long battle with alcoholism. Heavy drinking over the years undermined his health.
President Pierce was the first president to have a Christmas tree in the White House.
Famous American author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, dedicated his book Our Old Home to Franklin Pierce. Pierce was so hated by some northerners that they refused to buy the book or cut out the dedication when they bought it.
Former president Pierce was disliked by northerners because he didn't support the Civil War and didn't take a stand against slavery. He was considered a traitor by some people.
Commodore Perry brought back two tiny "sleeve dogs" from Japan and gave them to President Pierce. The dog was small enough to sit on a saucer. The President kept one of the dogs and gave the other to Jefferson Davis. Davis later became president of the Confederacy.
He was the only president to not have any turnover (leave) in his cabinet.
Tension over slavery was so high during Pierce's administration that in 1856 Representative Brooks beat Senator Sumner with his cane.
His party did not nominate him for a second term.
Pierce was only 53 years old when he left the presidency.
After he left office, he and his wife Jane spent six months in Maderia, Spain.
In 1847, President Polk offer to make Franklin the U.S. Attorney General. Pierce turned down the position.
1859 Polk and his wife ran into Nathaniel Hawthorn in Italy. The spent time visit with him and his wife.0
Pierce opposed Abe Lincoln and the Civil War. When Lincoln was assassinated, a mob threatened Pierce at his home.
Franklin Pierce died in Concord, New Hampshire on October 8, 1869. He was 64 years and 319 days old. He is buried in the Old North Cemetery in Concord, N.H. President Grant called Pierce one of his "honored predecessors." Flags were lowered across the U.S.
In 1853, President Pierce was riding his horse in a parade in Philadelphia. A sudden storm came up and spectators ran for cover and most of the people in the parade head for cover. Pierce continued on his horse even turning down an umbrella. He stated that "I am not sugar! I shall not melt."